STD testing is something that many people have trouble talking about. There is a stigma attached to a diagnosis of sexually transmitted disease, and many people would rather avoid thinking about the subject entirely rather than consider they may have an infection. It is important not to let this stigma prevent you from getting tested for STDs. These infections can have devastating health effects if left untreated.
STD Testing in Denver
You may think you can skip STD testing if you are not experiencing any symptoms, but the fact is, many of these infections do not have any symptoms, particularly in the early stages. It is a good idea for anyone who is sexually active to have an STD screening done on a regular basis. You should also undergo an STD check before having unprotected sex with a new partner.
STD testing does not have to be complicated. For instance, if you are interested in STD testing in Denver, a service such as STDcheck is ideal. STDcheck takes the stigma out of STD testing. You simply order your test online, go to the local office to provide a blood or urine sample, and receive your test results within two days. If you do have a positive result, STDcheck has physicians available to explain the results and help you set up a treatment plan.
What To Look For
It is important to understand that many STDs do not have noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Just because you are not experiencing any symptoms does not mean you are disease free. However, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek testing to safeguard your health.
- Infections in the throat or mouth
- Sores or blisters around the mouth
- Rash on the palms of hands or soles of feet
- Pink eye, or swollen red eyes
- Chronic flu-like symptoms
- Sore throat
- Discharge from penis or vagina
- Pain during urination/ frequent need to urinate
- Rash, bumps, lesions or warts on the genital area
- Rectal pain or discharge
- For women, pain during sex, and for men, pain during ejaculation
- Abdominal pain, headaches, weight loss
What STDs Should You Be Checked For?
Chlamydia– Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD in the United States. It is considered a silent STD, which means any symptoms that are present are mild, and it isn’t unusual to not experience any symptoms at all. When symptoms are present, they typically include burning during urination or abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis.
Women may also experience pain in the abdomen or pelvic area, bleeding between periods and pain during sex. A rectal infection can lead to pain or bleeding in the area. A urine test can be used to diagnose this infection. Treatment for chlamydia involves antibiotics for both partners, as well as being retested in three to four weeks to be sure the infection is gone.
Gonorrhea– Gonorrhea is a disease that infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive system. Infections can also develop in other areas of contact, such as the throat and anus. Gonorrhea is another STD that is possible to have without experiencing symptoms. Symptoms for men include discharge from the penis, painful urination, and itching.
Women may have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. They may experience pain during urination, an unusual discharge from the vagina, stomach pain and vomiting. Gonorrhea is diagnosed with a urine test and treated with antibiotics.
Genital and Oral Herpes– There are multiple strains of the herpes virus. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can both cause either oral or genital herpes, depending on exposure. The herpes virus infects skin and mucous membranes. Individuals infected with oral herpes often develop fever blisters or cold sores on the lips or around the mouth. Oral herpes is most often caused by the HSV-1 strain of the virus.
Genital herpes can cause sores, burning and itching on the genitals, upper thighs, and anus. Around two-thirds of the people who are infected with genital herpes have no symptoms at all, or symptoms mild enough that they mistake it for another skin condition.
HSV-1 can occur in the eye, which is a serious condition. HSV-1 can also, very rarely, spread to the brain. Both of these conditions are considered a medical emergency. HSV-1 is also responsible for “wrestler’s herpes,” an infection on the chest or face that is often spread through sports contact. During the initial outbreak of either strain, the individual will often feel ill with flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
It is estimated that between 75 and 80 percent of Americans carry the Herpes Simplex Virus. It is recommended to be tested for both type 1 and type 2 herpes. STDcheck offers a simple blood test that looks for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies in the blood.
Syphilis– Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is highly contagious and can cause serious long-term health consequences if left untreated. Many of the early symptoms of syphilis are similar to other diseases, making it important to test for syphilis specifically during STD testing.
After infection, small painless sores may develop on the genitals, lips, mouth, anus or rectum. Syphilis is much more easily spread to others during the early infection stage. You can experience vision loss, brain and organ damage from syphilis in the first year of infection.
If the infection continues untreated, the individual develops a pink, non-itchy rash over the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Less commonly, the rash can develop on other areas of the body. During this secondary stage of the disease, individuals may experience hair loss, flu-like symptoms, white patches in the mouth and genital warts.
If the disease is not treated it will go dormant and symptoms will disappear. The bacteria is still in the body and can be detected in a blood test, but no new symptoms develop. Without treatment, the disease will develop into the tertiary stage, typically 10 to 30 years after the initial infection. Side effects such as dementia, blindness, loss of motor skills, central nervous symptom damage, and damage to internal organs. This phase ends in death. It is very important to receive treatment for syphilis during the early stages of the disease. It is easily treatable with a single dose of penicillin at that time.
Hepatitis– Hepatitis A, B, and C are diseases of the liver. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for long-term health. Hepatitis A is an acute condition that does not become chronic. Treatment is typically to treat the symptoms, such as fatigue, with rest and fluids, and let the virus run its course. Because Hepatitis A can be transmitted during food preparation, it is important that food service workers be tested for the illness.
Hepatitis B is a liver disease that develops as an acute condition before settling into a long-term chronic disease. During the acute stage, it is possible to fight off the virus. If the virus remains active it can lead to lifelong health concerns. In addition to unprotected sexual contact, hepatitis B can also be spread through sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia and even through sharing razors or toothbrushes.
Symptoms of hepatitis B include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, joint pain, abdomen pain, dark-colored urine, and jaundice. There is no cure for hepatitis B. Treatment includes rest, fluid and monitoring of liver function. About 90 percent of healthy individuals who contract the illness will recover within a year. Without careful monitoring, the acute form of hepatitis B can lead to chronic hepatitis B, which can eventually lead to liver problems such as cirrhosis, cancer, liver failure, and death.
Hepatitis C is a long-lasting bloodborne infection. It often develops without symptoms, but when they are present they often mimic the flu. During the first six months, or acute phase, it is possible to clear the virus from the body and halt its progression. After that time period, hepatitis progresses to the chronic stage. During the chronic stage, individuals may develop liver cancer, liver failure and even die. Symptoms of chronic hepatitis C often don’t develop until significant damage to the liver has occurred. Excessive bleeding, joint pain, and weight loss are common symptoms of the disease as it advances.
Hepatitis A, B, and C can all be tested through simple blood antibody tests.
HIV– The HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, attacks the body’s immune cells. It is important to note that testing positive for HIV does not mean you have AIDS. You can have HIV for decades without developing AIDS or even showing signs of the disease. Early diagnosis is one of the best tools for slowing the spread of HIV in the body.
There are two separate test you can use to find out your HIV status. STDcheck offers an HIV 4th Generation Antibody Test that looks for HIV antibodies and viral proteins. It can diagnose HIV infections as soon as two to three weeks after exposure, although it is recommended that you test again at three months post exposure.
STDcheck also offers an HIV RNA Early Detection Test. This test looks for the virus’ genetic material. STDcheck is currently the only online STD testing company to offer this FDA-approved test. It can detect HIV as early as 9 days after exposure.
Who Should Be Tested For STDs in Denver?
The short answer to this is everyone who could possibly be exposed. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. You cannot let the fact that your partner does not have any STD symptoms allow you to believe they are healthy. Many STDs have no symptoms or symptoms so mild you don’t notice until they have caused long-term damage.
Even if you are not sexually active, if you share needles or engage in other risky behavior, or even share household items like razors with at-risk individuals, you should consider testing. Testing has never been easier than it is today with STDcheck. You can order your test online, visit the local clinic for urine or blood testing, and have the results by phone within two days without ever visiting a doctors office.
What Happens If You’re Positive?
While this low-stress type of testing may sound good for your schedule, you may be concerned about what happens if you have an STD. If you experience a positive test, you will not have to make sense of it on your own.
You can contact one of our doctors for a phone consultation. They will explain your test results and what your next steps should be. After talking with the doctor, they may prescribe the appropriate medication and have it sent to the pharmacy of your choice. They are able to write prescriptions for chlamydia and gonorrhea, antibiotics for trichomoniasis, and antiviral medications for herpes.
STDcheck is proud of their work in giving consumers an effective way to safeguard their health. The online component of testing also allows STDcheck to keep costs low, making STD testing an affordable option. Early testing is important for several reasons. Early diagnosis helps prevent the spread of disease to others and helps to safeguard your future fertility and health.