STD Testing: What You Should Know
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), sometimes called sexually transmitted infections (STIs), can be an embarrassing topic for some people. But understanding your risk is a critical part of your overall sexual health. By learning the basics of these often hidden diseases, you can minimize your chance of contracting one and act quickly if you do. Use this guide to learn the basics of STDs and to know whether it is time to visit an urgent care center for rapid STD testing.
Who Should Be Tested For STDs?
The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) recommends that anyone who has had unprotected sex or has a new sexual partner should be screened for STDs. They also suggest that anyone who is worried about being exposed to an STD should be screened as well. Testing may or may not be routine at your regular checkups, so make sure you ask if you are concerned.
How Do Clinicians Test For STDs?
STD testing is a quick process, usually only taking a few minutes to perform. You will likely get your results back in a couple days once your sample goes through laboratory testing. When you show up for your rapid STD testing, this is how they will check for the most common infections:
- Genital Herpes: If you are showing symptoms of herpes, the clinician will take a swap of the affected area. They might want to perform a blood test on negative swabs to confirm the diagnosis. If you are not showing symptoms, the clinician will take a blood test right away.
- Chlamydia: This STD can be diagnosed through a genital swab of the genital area or through a quick urine sample. ASHA recommends that you tell the doctor if you have had anal or oral sex, as these areas should be tested as well.
- Syphilis: A clinician will either swab the affected area or perform a blood test to test for this condition.
- Gonorrhea: Similar to the test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea is tested through a genital swab or urine sample. It is also important to tell the doctor if you have had anal or oral sex in this case as well.
- HIV: Quick tests for HIV usually involve a mouth swab, but a doctor may also want to do a blood test to confirm. According to ASHA, you may be able to be tested anonymously in many clinics.
If you have a positive test result, the doctor may have you come back in for specific treatment or medication. For anyone who is sexually active, getting tested is the best way to catch these conditions early and prevent their spread. Many urgent care centers offer rapid STD testing, so be sure to visit a clinic if you are concerned. The Urgent Care Association of America found that 57% of patients wait 15 minutes or less to be seen, and around 80% are at the clinic for an hour or less. Taking the time to get screened is not a significant time investment, so stop by a medical center today.