STD or STI refers to the infections that are transmitted to a healthy person when he/she has unprotected sexual intercourse with an infection person. In most of the cases, this can happen when the infected partner is unaware that he/she is infected and show no symptoms or ignores any symptom. Typically transmissions of STDs happen in sexually active people in the age group of 18 to 30 years and who have multiple sexual partners.
What type of STD Testing/screening does a person need? How often one must get tested for STD? The answers to these questions depend on the person’s age, his/her sexual orientation, sexual behaviour and other risk factors such as drug abuse etc. An expert sexologist will be able to identify the possible disease by looking at the symptoms being experienced by the patient (if any) at the time of consultation.
When should a person get tested for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea?
If you meet any of the following conditions, it is advisable to get tested for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea:
- If you are a sexually active woman and have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- If you are a man who have sex with another man.
- If you have HIV (whether or not you are on ART).
- If you are forced to have unprotected sex against your will.
How is the testing for STD Chlamydia or Gonorrhea done?
Most doctors use ‘Swabs’ to test for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea.
If the person is a woman, vaginal, cervical or urethral swabs are used to collect the sample fluids and sent for testing. In well equipped hospitals or clinics, testing will be done at doctor’s office. If the person is a male who had vaginal sex, a urethral swab will be inserted into his urethra and the sample will be taken for testing. For men who indulge in anal sex, rectal swabs are used to check for infection inside the rectum.
STD Testing for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis
A person must get tested for HIV, Syphilis or Hepatitis if:
- He/she tests positive for any other sexually transmitted infection
- He/she had sex with multiple partners after last testing
- He/she Shares needles for drug abuse
- She is a pregnant or plans to become pregnant.
- He had sexual intercourse with another man.
Syphilis – Either a blood sample will be collected or if the person has genital sores, a swab will be used to collect the fluid sample from the sores.
HIV & Hepatitis – Blood sample will be taken to test HIV or Hepatitis.
For more information on “When to get tested for confirmed HIV results”, you can read through that informative article which details about various types of HIV tests and when they are done post exposure to infection.
STD Test for Genital Herpes
Current tests for herpes infection are not 100% reliable. One can expect false positives or false negatives from the test depending on when the person got exposed and the sensitivity of the test that is being performed. If ulcers are found on your body, doctor may take a tissue scraping or culture of blisters for examination. As said, a negative report doesn’t rule out the possibility of herpes.
Blood sample may also be taken for testing to see if the person was infected in the past. Some types of blood tests can help the doctor determine if the infection was Type 1 herpes or Type 2 herpes. Type 1 herpes typically causes cold sores while Type 2 causes genital sores.
STD Test for Human PapillomaVirus (HPV)
In many people HPV shows no symptoms and it goes away on it’s own within two years of infection. In some cases, HPV can cause genital warts while in some cases, it can cause cervical cancer.
There is no common HPV testing method for men. The sexologist can diagnose the infection by physical inspection or by doing a biopsy of the genital warts. In case of women, two types of HPV tests are in practice:
- Pap Smear Test – In strict sense, a pap smear is not a test for STDs. This test looks for signs of cervical or anal cancer because women with persistent HPV infections are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. Women and men who engage in anal sex can develop anal cancer because of HPV Infection. A pap smear test result is not a conclusive evidence for HPV infection. An abnormal test result doesn’t indicate the presence of cervical or anal cancer. However, in case of abnormal reports, the doctor may go for HPV testing.
- HPV Testing – A negative HPV test indicates that the person is unlikely to develop cervical or anal cancer in near future. HPV infection has also been linked to the cancer of vulva, vagina, penis, mouth, threat apart from cervix and anus.
Testing of Sexually Transmitted Infections at home
For certain STIs such as HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, home testing kits are available in the market. Anal or genital swabs are provided with the kit using which the fluid samples are to be collected. Urine can also be collected and sent to lab for testing. At times, multiple samples may be required to confirm the reports. The drawback of using home testing kits is that, many false positives are reported. Should you get any of your STI test report as positive, contact your nearby sexologist immediately for a fresh test.
At Metromale Clinic & Fertility Center, Chennai, we offer a range of STD Testing services for every kind of sexually transmitted infection. Should the report come positive, you can get in touch with Chennai’s leading sexologist & STD specialist, Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran for treatment.