Across the United States, STD transmission rates are increasing. It is important to continuously monitor your health to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The only way to do this is by getting tested regularly.
Having to speak about STD might seem embarrassing and even awkward. Try to remember that doctors have most likely seen and heard it all. What you can do to help your situation is to follow your doctor’s instructions for treating it. At AFC Urgent Care Waltham, we provide STD testing for all patients on a walk-in basis.
Who Should Get Tested?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that:
- All adolescents and adults aged between 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV
- Everyone who shares injection needles and anyone who has unsafe sex should have an HIV test at least once yearly.
- All women younger than 25 years who are sexually active should test for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women older than 25 years with risk factors, such as having multiple partners who may have STDs, should test for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year.
- All sexually active bisexual and gay men should be tested yearly for chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Those with anonymous or multiple partners should be tested frequently for STDs. (i.e., every 3 to 6 months)
Different types of test & what they look for
The screening test differs depending on the type of STI sought. This may be a local sample, a blood test, or a clinical examination of the genitals. For example, a test for hepatitis B or C, HIV, or syphilis is done through a blood test.
The diagnosis of genital herpes is made at the inspection of the lesions by a doctor. When the appearance of the lesions leaves a doubt, a sample can be taken to confirm the diagnosis. To detect chlamydia and gonorrhea, urine tests are usually done, although there are other vaginal or urethra sampling methods.
In most cases, chlamydia has no symptoms, so it is important to test every time after being exposed to unprotected sex with unsecured partners. In some cases, chlamydia can cause itching, abnormal discharge, burning or pain at urination, or swelling in the genital areas.
Gonorrhea may show little or no symptoms, especially in women. In other cases, it may cause abnormal discharge of the penis or vagina, pain or burning at urination, menstrual abnormalities, or painful sex. It would be wise to do the test after unprotected sex or if you experience any symptoms.
In many cases, hepatitis B has no symptoms before damaging the body. It causes fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, headache during primary periods. It is likely to trigger yellowing of the skin or eyes, acute abdominal pain, and dark urine when developed. Hepatitis B is a severe disease: the sooner you diagnose it, the less damage it will do for you.
There are two types of this generalized infection: oral and genital. Oral herpes is usually easy to find as it “comes and goes” with sores and blisters on the lips and area of the mouth. Genital herpes works unnoticed in most cases, but it can also cause sores, blisters, itching, or burning sensations during urination.