Getting Tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections for Your Health

Sexually transmitted infection

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), maybe the reason for serious health problems. Some of these include the following:

  • infertility
  • organ damage
  • blindness
  • cancer

Regretfully, many people do not get instant treatment for their STIs and many of them do not show any symptoms or have non-specific symptoms, which make them difficult to detect. The stigma around STIs may also dishearten some people from getting tested. But testing is considered to be the only way for knowing if you are having an STI. You need to consult with the doctor to know whether you need to get tested for any sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Who needs to be tested for STIs?

If you are sexually active, it is certainly a good idea to get tested for Sexually transmitted infections. It is extremely important to test if:

  • Do you want to start a new relationship
  • your partner and you do not want to use condoms
  • you have more than one partner
  • your partner has several partners or cheated on you
  • your symptoms suggest you are having an STI

Whether you are in a mutually monogamous relationship, long-term relation and both you and your partner had tested before entering into the relationship, you might not need STI testing frequently. But many people who are in long-term relationships do not want to be tested before they are together. If this is what you and your partner think, it is quite possible that either of you or both are carrying an undiagnosed STI for many years. The safest option is to get tested without delay.

What STIs do you need to get tested?

There are different STIs for which you should get tested. It is advised to talk to your doctor and know the ones you need to be tested for. He might encourage you to test for one or more of the following:

  • gonorrhea
  • chlamydia
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • trichomoniasis
  • hepatitis B
  • syphilis

Your doctor probably will not test you for herpes unless you show some exposure or ask for the test.

Consult with the doctor

Your doctor will not test you for all types of STIs automatically at the yearly physical or sexual health checkup. Many doctors do not even test patients for STIs on a daily basis. Hence, it is extremely important to ask your doctor whether you need to get tested for STDs. If you are extremely worried about a specific symptom or infection, inform your doctor about it. The more honest you remain, the better treatment you can get.

It is extremely important to get screened when you are pregnant as STIs can have an effect on your fetus. Your doctor should screen you for STIs along with other things during the first prenatal visit.

Discuss the possible risk factors

It is very important to share your sexual risk factors with the doctor. You should inform him if you like to engage in anal sex. Some anal STIs cannot be detected with standard STI tests. Your doctor might suggest an anal Pap smear to get screens for precancerous or cancerous cells that are usually linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

You should also inform the doctor about:

  • different kinds of protection you use at the time of anal, oral, and vaginal sex
  • any medications you may be taking
  • any suspected or known exposures related to several STIs
  • whether you or your partner enjoy sex with other partners

Where can you get tested for STIs?

You might undergo STI testing at according to your choice. Several STIs are actually notifiable diseases which means your doctor is legally required to report positive results to the government. Some notifiable STIs include the following:

  • chlamydia
  • chancroid
  • gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • syphilis
  • hepatitis

How are STI tests done?

Based on your past sexual history, your doctor might ask for different tests in order to detect you for some STIs. Some of these include – blood tests, physical examinations, swabs, or urine tests.

Urine and blood tests

Most STIs can be tested by taking your blood or urine samples. Your doctor can order urine or blood tests to check for:

  • gonorrhea
  • chlamydia
  • HIV
  • syphilis
  • herpes
  • hepatitis

There are certain situations when blood and urine tests are not correct like other forms of testing. It might require a month or even more that after you are exposed to some STIs for your blood tests to be accurate. In case you contract a HIV, it can take some weeks to months for the tests to detect the infection.


Many doctors use cervical, urethral, or vaginal swabs when checking for different STIs. If you are a female, then use a cotton applicator to take cervical and vaginal swabs at a pelvic examination. But, if you are a male or female, then take urethral swabs with the insertion of a cotton applicator into the urethra. If you enjoy anal sex, then they may even require a rectal swab to check for infectious organisms inside the rectum.

HPV testing and Pap smear

Women who suffer from continuous HPV infections like HPV-16 and HPV-18, are at greater risk for developing cervical cancer. Both men and women who want to engage in anal sex might develop anal cancer from HPV infections.

A Pap smear is a test that helps to detect early signs of anal or cervical cancer. The result says whether or not you are having an STI. Your doctor will order a separate test for HPV to check if you suffer from it.

An abnormal Pap smear result does not always mean that you have or will get anal or cervical cancer. Many abnormal Pap smears can be resolved without any form of treatment. If you are having an abnormal Pap smear, then your doctor might suggest HPV testing. In case the HPV test is negative, it is quite improbable that you may develop anal or cervical cancer in the future.

HPV tests are not very helpful in the detection of cancer. Mostly, sexually active people will suffer from at least one kind of HPV at some point of time in their lives. Most of those people do not develop anal or cervical cancer.

Physical examination

Some STIs like genital warts and herpes can be diagnosed with a combination of physical examination along with other tests. Your doctor may conduct a physical examination to detect bumps, sores, and other signs of STIs. They can even collect the samples from any questionable areas before sending them to the laboratory for testing.

It is extremely important to inform your doctor in case you find any change on or around the genitals. If you want to engage in anal sex, inform your doctor about any changes on or around the rectum and anus.

Getting tested

Sexually transmitted infections are quite common these days and testing is widely available. The tests might differ based on the type of STIs your doctor will check for. You need to talk to your doctor about your past sexual record and ask which tests you should perform. He can help you to know the probable potential benefits and risk factors of different STI tests. He can even recommend appropriate treatment options in case your test result turns out to be positive for any STIs.

Thus, you need to undergo an STD test in London and know whether you are safe or have any risks for your health condition.


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