The thought of being tested for an STI may sound scary and overwhelming, but it’s an important part of staying healthy!
From understanding how STI testing works to knowing when and where to access it, we’re here to answer commonly asked questions about STD tests.
What is an STI?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are health conditions passed through contact of the genitals, mouth, or anus.
The most common types of STIs include…
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus (Genital warts)
- Genital shingles (Herpes Simplex)
- Chancroid (Syphilis)
- Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
- Trichomoniasis (Trich)
Why is it important to get tested for STIs?
If you are sexually active, there’s a chance you may contract an STI, meaning routine STI testing should be a priority.
While some STIs are curable if detected (including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis), others have no cure and can lead to serious and even deadly health complications.
While some infections come with noticeable symptoms, others can lay dormant or unnoticed, making testing the only way to know for sure if you’re free and clear. Not only is testing essential in being proactive about your own health and wellbeing, but it’s also necessary to be able to prevent spreading the infection to others.
If you are pregnant and considering abortion, STD testing is essential. Having an STD when undergoing an abortion procedure could increase your risk of getting Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – an infection that spreads to your upper reproductive organs.
If you think you might be pregnant, schedule a free appointment at your local pregnancy clinic for no-cost pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, and STD testing.
What should I expect from my STD test?
Getting an STD test can feel nerve-wracking, but it’s important to remember that it’s a normal and essential part of preventative healthcare for those who are sexually active.
If you’re nervous, knowing what to expect can help calm your anxiety and prepare you for your appointment.
The test provider will ask you some initial questions to gather information about your sexual history and any symptoms you may be experiencing. Different STDs require different tests, so your provider will use the information you provide to determine what testing you’ll need.
Testing can come in various forms, sometimes requiring a sample, swab, or physical exam. Below are some of the forms of testing you may encounter:
- Urine samples
- Blood sample
- Internal swab (vaginal, rectal, cheek, or throat)
- Physical exam
- Testing and sampling any sores or unusual discharge
If your test comes back positive for an STD, your provider will walk you through treatment options (if available) and measures required for preventing the spread of your infection.
How accurate are STD tests?
Like we said, different diseases and infections require different testing methods. The accuracy will depend on the infection that’s being tested for and the type of test used.
Some STD tests are available for at-home testing, however, these tests rely on the user to gather a proper sample or swab, which can be a challenge for those who are not trained as medical professionals.
For the most accurate results, we recommend scheduling an appointment for an in-clinic test. First Care Clinic provides free, confidential testing, as well as other reproductive healthcare services, such as lab-quality pregnancy testing, ultrasound scans, education, resources, and more!
Contact us today to schedule your free appointment!