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Testing for sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can cause serious health problems such as infertility, cancer, or even organ damage if it is left untreated or not attended to on time.

People contact STIs here and there, but it is just a few that get treated. You can be infected with some STIs without a visible symptom. Getting tested for STIs is the only way to ascertain if you have STIs, but some people avoid getting tested due to the associated stigma.

Who should be tested for STIs?

Getting tested for STIs is a must if you are active sexually. You should be tested when:

  • You have symptoms that are related to STI or suggests that you have an STI
  • You want to start a new relationship
  • You have multiple partners
  • When you have unprotected sex
  • When there is cheating in your relationship

Regular STIs testing may not be needed if you were both tested at the onset of mutual monogamous relation. Most people do not do STIs test before going into a relationship these days. If you are in any mutual relationship and you were not tested for STIs you should endeavour to do that today, it is possible that either you or your partner might have STI. You can always ask your doctor at blood test London clinic to enlighten you more on this.  

The type of STIs you should be tested for

The number of STIsare countless, you can go on and on trying to make a list of STIs, you should get tested for. You can always ask your doctor at blood test London clinic to know more about the ones you should focus on. STIs that are commonly tested for when you run a private blood test are Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Getting tested for STIs like herpes may not be needed unless you request for it.

Ask your doctor

Your private blood test may not cover all STIs. Some test may not even be included; you should always ask your doctor at the blood test London clinicabout the test he or she wants you to take and see if you can request for STI to be added.

Some people shy away when it comes to taking care of their sexual health. You should always feel free to ask your doctor at blood test London clinic about your sexual health concerns so that you can be given the necessary treatment. Getting tested for STIs is very important when you are pregnant, this should be one of the tests you should run on your first prenatal visit because some STIs can affect foetus – it can even cause abortion in extreme cases.

Discuss your risk factors with your doctor

You should always try to discuss your sexual risk factors with your doctor so that he or she will know the type of STI test to recommend for you. Your doctor might recommend you for an anal Pap smear screening if you engage in anal sex. The things you can discuss with your doctor include the following:

  • Discuss any known or suspected exposures to STIs
  • Discuss the medications you are taking if there is any
  • Discuss the types of protection you use during oral, vaginal, and anal sex
  • Informyour doctor if you or your partner have other sexual partners

Where can you be tested for STIs?

Testing for STI’s can be doneat your regular doctor’s office orsexual health clinic, depending on the one you prefer. Some STIs can also be tested at home or online, but results may not be as reliable if compared with the one conducted in the clinic.

The Government needs accurate STIs record to create sexual health awareness for the public. As a result of this, every doctor who runs the STIs test is legally required to report positive STI result to the government.  STIs that government gives more attention to are chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis, HIV, and syphilis.

How STI tests are performed

There are different ways an STI test can be done; they includeswabs, physical examination, blood tests, or urine tests.

Swabs: vaginal, cervical, or urethral swabs can be used to check for STIs. Females can be tested by taking vaginal or cervical swabs with a cotton applicator when examining the pelvis. Urethral swabs can also be taken from either male or female with a cotton applicator that is injected into the urethra. A rectal swab can also be taken to check for an infectious organism in your rectum if you have anal sex.

Physical examination: physical examination can be used to diagnose STIs like herpes and genital warts. The symptoms of these STIs are sores, bumps, and other signs which are visible for the doctor to diagnose without carrying out any further test. Samples can be taken from your genital area for further test if the doctor cannot arrive at a solid conclusion from a physical examination. Discuss with your doctor if you notice any changes around your genitals, or anus and rectum if you engage in anal sex.

Blood and urine tests: using urine or blood samples is a common way most STIs are tested. If you want to test for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, syphilis or any other STIs, your doctor may ask for urine or blood sample. Taking a private blood test or urine test is not as accurate as other forms of testing in some cases. STIs cannot be detected on time through a private blood test; it is not reliable unless if the patient has been exposed to them for a long time – HIV, for example, takes a couple of weeks to a few months for blood tests to detect the infection.

Pap smears and HPV testing: a Pap smear is a test that checks early signs of cervical or anal cancer.  When women have HPV infections every time, especially from HPV-16 and HPV-18, they stand a high risk of developing cervical cancer. Anal sex can also result in anal cancer due to HPV infections.

You will be recommended to take HPV testing separately after Pap smear result because it does not show if you are sexually healthy or not.  An unusual Pap smear result does not mean that you develop anal or cervical cancer; it can even disappear on its own without being treated. When you have an abnormal Pap smear and test negative to HPV, the risk of developing cervical or anal cancer afterwards is very low.

If you ever experience or notice any STI like a symptom, you can ask your doctor at blood test London clinicabout a private blood test to know your status and get treated.