Sexually transmitted diseases are a serious matter. Most people are not aware they have one because most sexually transmitted infections will not show signs or symptoms. Studies show that only 12% of young people have STD testing, despite the prevalence of STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, being at an all-time high. If you had unprotected sexual contact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get checked by a health care provider the soonest you can.
Understanding your risks for STDs
One of the most common questions people ask is: When should I get STD testing? The answer may vary. If you only had one partner and both of you got negative STD test results right before sex, then another check is not necessary. On the other hand, if you’ve been with a few partners since your last appointment, then it’s a good idea to set up an STD testing appointment just to know you’re safe and healthy from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other risk factors such as cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV), and other health problems.
The STD testing process
The process of STD testing varies based on the quality of care you’ve chosen. Essentially, when you arrive at a clinic or urgent care, your doctor will ask you a few questions, they’ll confirm the STDs you want to be tested for before they proceed.
Not all lab testing is completed in the same way. Some may involve a blood test. Others may involve swabbing, either of your mouth or genital region.
Be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse beforehand about the specific tests you want to have done. That way, they can answer all of your questions. One test cannot give you a diagnosis on all STDs, so it’s very important to specify your requests.
After your first STD testing appointment
It is not mandatory to get tested annually. However, it is important to do it regularly if you are sexually active. You’ll want to schedule an appointment before you engage in sexual activity with a new person. If this sounds overly cautious, it’s because we want you to be healthy for as long as possible.
Knowing your status is a key element to a healthy life. And once you finish your first STD testing experience, it gets much easier. You may even look forward to getting a clean bill of health rather than dreading the appointment entirely.
Follow up treatment
If you test positive for an STD, your doctor will talk through treatment plans for you. Certain STDs, like herpes and HIV, don’t have proper cures, but there are ways to manage the symptoms so that you can live a normal life.
Other STDs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, have become resistant to treatments. Therefore, you’ll need expert advice from your doctor to figure out the best treatment plan for you. It’s this sort of advice that you won’t get with an inexpensive, incomplete home test kit that comes in the mail.
Prepare to answer sex-related questions
As we mentioned, there will be a few questions to answer before your doctor will test for HIV and STDs. These questions are meant to help the doctor understand your medical history and how best to help you, should you test positive for any STDs.
Keep in mind that your doctor is a professional. All they want to know is how to help you and discover any STDs you might be at risk for.
To prepare for STD testing, make sure you know the answers to these questions before your appointment. The information may be valuable for your doctor to make a proper diagnosis or treatment.
- How many sexual partners have you had?
- When was the last time you got tested for STDs?
- What type of sexual activities do you engage in?
- Do you regularly wear protection?
- What kind of Hormone Replacement Therapy do you use?
Be as honest as possible with your doctor — it could be the difference between a treatment plan that works and one that doesn’t manage any of your symptoms.
Schedule your first STD test with Nao Medical today!
Your sexual health is important—and at Nao Medical, we’re here to help you protect it. Whether you’re coming in for your first STD test or you’ve been getting tested regularly for years, we’ll provide the high-quality care and respect that you deserve. At our urgent care clinics, we provide comprehensive STD testing, prevention, and treatment. So schedule an appointment or visit a Nao Medical location near you today!