If you think you might have a sexually transmitted disease, or even if you’ve just never been tested before and have had sex, it’s important to get yourself tested. If you’re infected, you could spread the disease to other people without even knowing it.
The most common symptoms of STDs are sores or bumps around the genitals, which could be a sign of Herpes, as well as dark, smelly, or painful urination or a secretion or discharge, which indicates a possible Chlamydia or Gonorrhea infection. Spots appearing on your body could mean you’ve entered the second stage of Syphilis. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor and/or get tested immediately.
Just because you don’t have symptoms, though, doesn’t mean you’re STD-free. STDs often don’t have any symptoms at first, and some signs of a sexually transmitted disease aren’t obvious. If you’ve had sex with someone who wasn’t a virgin, you could have an STD and should get tested to be sure you’re healthy.
Blood Tests vs. Urine Tests
If you have outward signs of a disease, the doctor should be able to tell rather quickly what you have, or they can swab the infected area to find out. If you don’t have any symptoms and want to get tested to be sure you’re healthy, you’ll test through blood and urine for the various likely STDs. Blood tests and urine tests check for different diseases, so it’s important to know what you’re being tested for before you assume that one negative test indicates that you’re disease-free. Urine tests can tell you whether or not you have Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes 1 or 2, Trichomoniasis, or Hepatitis B or C. If you want to check for HIV or Syphilis, you’ll need to get a blood test. It’s good to get tested once or twice a year.
If you go to your doctor to get tested, you can discuss any possible symptoms and let him or her know of any occurrences that may make you more likely to have an infection, and can get swab testing if you have blisters or bumps that indicate an STD. If you want to get tested quickly, cheaply, and privately, there are plenty of testing centers you can go to. These testing centers will find out what STDs you want to check for, take blood and urine samples, and then will send those samples to a lab to be tested. Depending on the lab, you will usually know within five days, but sometimes as few as two. They may call or email you your results.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be dangerous, and if you don’t know you have them, can be spread to others. It’s important to get yourself tested on a regular basis to ensure that you don’t have an untreated disease harming you and being passed to your partner. Even condoms aren’t 100% effective against STDs (though they do lower risk dramatically). If you’ve had sexual intercourse, make the smart, safe choice to get tested.
Sue L. McBride writes for public health blogs. If you’re sexually active, make sure to get regular std tests. Make sure to visit std testing centers in san diego.