Here are some possible ways that you can raise STD testing awareness with your health care provider: First, have you ever been tested for STDs in the past? Have you ever screened for any STDs while going through checkups at the doctor’s office? What STDs should watch for? How do you know when you should get tested?
If you’ve had a Pap smear and your doctor recommended a home std test, have you ever asked him/her whether you should be screened for Chlamydia or gonorrhea? Or, have you ever undergone an ultrasound, mammogram, or colonoscopy and had those types of tests, and received STDs in the process? Have you ever gone in for a simple teeth cleaning and left the technician with your tooth impressions and sent it off to the laboratory for testing? Has your partner ever told you that he/she was suffering from genital warts? Does your child suffer from bleeding from sores? Has your spouse ever shown you pictures of swollen or red genitals?
If you’ve ever experienced an alarming symptom, or done any of the above mentioned tests and you still aren’t sure whether it is indicative of an STD or not, then you should probably get tested. However, there are many other reasons why you might want to get tested. Maybe you saw someone recently who you considered a friend but didn’t really know anything about. Maybe, you’ve met a guy for a drink and had sex, and now you want to know whether he has HIV or another STD. You could also be in a relationship with someone and want to know whether you two have an exclusive contract or not.
Many STDs have symptoms that mirror those of various other conditions, so you’ll want to make sure that your condition is indeed STD related. Most STD blood tests (genital and viral cultures) can determine whether or not you have gonorrhea, genital warts, Chlamydia, genital herpes, syphilis or HIV. Unfortunately, most people do not receive an STD test until they have their first positive test result, usually in their thirties or forties. That’s because most medical professionals assume that most cases of STD are occasional rather than chronic, and treatment isn’t necessary until such time as when s/he shows symptoms again.
With new partners, however, it’s often difficult to know whether the prior couple has been monogamous or perhaps it’s just become easy to contract the disease from a new partner. In this case, it may be necessary to perform a pelvic exam to see if any underlying abnormal conditions are present. Alternatively, you may wish to consider one of several newer STD screening methods. Among the newer methods, an annual back-copy can detect abnormalities and get results quickly. Other methods include:
STD testing and treatment are a matter of choice, and there’s nothing wrong with deciding to opt for a more flexible approach where possible. If you find that you’re feeling unsure about whether or not you should be tested, or if you’ve already been tested and think you might be at risk, trust your doctor to guide you in the right direction. Remember, however, that STD testing doesn’t always mean that you will necessarily need treatment. In some cases, simply using a condom and living a healthy lifestyle can help ensure that you don’t transmit an STD to a partner. However, for others, including those who have had multiple partners, regular screening and treatment are the only way to guarantee an outbreak of the disease.