Most people are completely unaware that they have an STD or STI. Even if there are signs and symptoms, they can easily be ignored or confused for other health issues. The only way to be sure that you are safe is to get yourself tested on a regular basis. Learn more about STDs, STIs, and testing to be sure that you stay healthy.
What are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are ailments passed from one person to another through sexual activities, such as penetration and oral sex. They are very common, with symptom-free diseases like chlamydia being the most common.
Thankfully, STDs are also now easier to treat than ever before. Diseases like chlamydia can be cured with a simple course of antibiotics, and science has made amazing advances in treating individuals with incurable infections like HIV. Early diagnosis is the best way to ensure that you remain as healthy as possible regardless of the result.
If left untreated, these diseases can cause a whole host of issues including infertility, blindness, organ damage, and even death. With nearly 20 million new STIs occurring each year across the country, it is vital that all sexually active individuals get tested. Not only does testing protect your health, it ensures that you don’t unknowingly pass a disease along to someone else.
Signs and Symptoms
Individuals who engage in sexual activity of any type, including oral, should pay attention for the following symptoms:
- Sores, bumps, or a rash on or near your genitals and thighs
- Any type of unusual discharge
- Burning when you urinate or engage in sexual activity
- Swelling or pain in or around your genitals
- Flu-like symptoms
The presence of these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean that you are infected, but they should encourage you to get checked out. Even if you do not have an STD, you may still have something medically wrong that requires treatment, such as a yeast infection or UTI. Getting yourself tested is the only way to determine what is wrong and how to treat it.
As mentioned, many STDs and STIs do not have obvious symptoms, or you may experience symptoms that come and go. It is important to remember that just because you don’t feel sick, it doesn’t guarantee that you are not infected either. Visit My Choice Medical Center for STD testing if you notice that anything feels even slightly wrong.
Testing for STDs
Most STD and STI testing is easy and relatively non-invasive. Doctors often use urine or blood samples to test for common diseases like:
In some cases, swabs may be used. This can happen if your blood or urine tests are inconclusive. Physical exams are frequently done to determine if a patient has herpes or warts.
Ask your health care team in advance what you need to do to prepare for the tests. If the clinic you choose relies on urine tests, you may be asked to arrive with a full bladder to make testing easy. Certain blood tests may require fasting in advance, so be sure to ask about this as well.
When you speak with your doctor about STD testing, make sure you are open and honest about your sexual history. This helps your medical team determine which tests to run. For example, many clinics don’t run herpes tests unless they are specifically requested. If this is a concern for you, make sure you mention it to your doctor. When you go to a compassionate clinic, like My Choice Medical Center, you can have these kinds of open and blunt conversations without feeling judged.
How Often Should I Get Tested?
If any of the following events has happened to you, you should get tested as soon as possible:
- You are about to enter into a new sexual relationship
- You and your long-term partner want to discontinue condom use
- Your partner has cheated on you
- You have multiple partners
- You have been forced into a sexual act
- You have symptoms that may indicate an STD is present
If you are sexually active with multiple partners, the CDC recommends that you get tested every three to six months. In other situations, annual screening or testing immediately after a new partner is ideal.
Never let fear of the result or fear of judgement hold you back from getting tested, especially if you are sexually active with multiple partners. Instead of putting off your test, focus your energy on finding a clinic with non-judgmental staff members, where you can feel free to be as open as you need to ensure continuing health. At My Choice Medical Center, we specialize in patient-centric care, meaning that we never judge or admonish our patients for any of their choices. Instead, we work on testing, treatment, and future prevention.
How My Choice Can Help
If you are worried that you might have an STD, you should get tested immediately. Delaying the test could result in diseases that are harder to treat or can even cause serious health complications like infertility. Here at My Choice, we have a team of non-judgmental medical practitioners ready to help you. We have our own laboratory, so all tests can stay strictly confidential – with the results only shared between you and your My Choice medical team.
At My Choice, we also invite you to bring a support person with you to each visit. Getting tested for STDs can be a very scary and emotional experience for some people. Having a loved one or friend with you can make you feel much more comfortable. You are welcome to bring this person with you for your initial testing and to bring them back when the results come in. If you are nervous about bringing someone from your life, let our team know. In many cases, we can arrange for emotional support, such as counseling sessions, to help you with the results.
Contact our Los Angeles STD testing center today at 866-397-3070 or through our online contact form to learn more about our services or how we can help. Caring and compassionate staff members are here to help.