Why Is It Important to Get Tested For STIs?
Chances are you’re like most people in Houston who believe if you had an STI or sexually transmitted infection you’d know it. However, the truth is very different. In many situations, you can actually be suffering from one of the many STIs that get passed from partner to partner and you won’t even know it.
Perhaps you’re wondering if you have an STI and there are no side effects why would it even matter to know? The answer is two-fold, firstly, while you might not have symptoms now, symptoms definitely can and will arise if you don’t get those infections treated. And if you wait too long these infections can cause even worse conditions in the future.
For example, HPV or the Human Papillomavirus is a condition that has been known to come and go silently for most people, however, some strains of it can actually cause cervical cancer.
Another example is Chlamydia, which is often a silent infection that is really common in young adults under 25 years. Though silent at the start, and easy enough to treat, if left unchecked, Chlamydia can actually spread from the genitals into other essential organs and cause much more serious conditions. For women they can contract pelvic inflammatory disease which is responsible for causing infertility in around 24,000 women every year!
These are just two examples of the kind of STIs that many people suffer from without even realizing they are infected and therefore at risk for further complications. The only way to know and protect yourself is to get tested.
The second reason it is important to get tested is to protect those with whom you have intimate sexual relations. If partners are not honest with each other or are not aware of the infections they carry, the spread of the infections can even affect future partners and pregnancies.
What Happens When You’re Tested For STIs?
There are a few different processes to test for and detect the various sexually transmitted infections that you might catch, these tests range from visual inspections and diagnosis to blood and urine samples taken. The good news is, in general, getting tested for STIs is a simple matter that can be taken care of at any of our Angels Medical branches around Houston.
Here’s what you can expect when coming in to get tested for the most common STI/STDs.
A simple swab of the genital area or urine sample is all it takes to test for this infection. If you have had oral or anal sex it’s important to tell your health care provider about this because these areas might be infected even if you get a negative result from your samples.
Chlamydia is much the same as Gonorrhea, a test of the urine or swab of the genital area is the usual procedure to test for this infection. Again, let your doctor know if you’ve had oral or anal sex so it can be taken into consideration.
A blood test or a swab from inside the mouth is the process we’ll use to test you for HIV. We want to assure you that we prioritize and honor the importance of your privacy when testing for these conditions.
Genital Herpes can be a silent infection or it can manifest with symptoms. If the latter is the case we will test by swabbing the affected area. If however, you do not have symptoms, we test by drawing blood. It’s important to know that a negative result does not conclusively mean you do not have Herpes.
To test for Syphilis a blood test is taken or if you have sores a swab of a sore is all that is necessary to create the culture needed to determine your condition.
This infection is much easier to detect in men than it is in women, but either way for testing a swab can be taken of the infected area, a sample of the discharge can be collected. In some circumstances, a visual exam is all that’s necessary to diagnose the condition.
In the case of Human papillomavirus, if genital warts are present a visual exam can diagnose the condition. If the condition is progressing to cervical cancer a pap smear is necessary to detect the disease. However, it’s important to understand that a pap smear doesn’t detect HPV directly, instead it can detect cervical cell changes which often indicates an HPV infection.
You can be sure here at Angels Medical we’ll protect your privacy and help you get an accurate diagnosis so you can preserve your sexual health and protect your loved ones.
If you have more questions about STIs and the importance of getting tested read our article, “5 Myths Most People Believe About STIs”.