Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as the term suggests, are illnesses that typically pass to other individuals by way of sexual contact. However, it’s also possible to become infected by certain STDs from blood transfusions, by sharing unsterilized drug needles, or from breastfeeding from an infected mother. You might also hear them referred to as venereal diseases or sexually transmitted infections.
In New York City, with the exception of HIV, STDs are on the incline, so now more than ever it’s of vital importance to ensure you are clean.
As warm, moist sites, the genitals are perfect homes for growing bacteria, viruses, and yeasts, making any kind of genital-on-genital contact with an infected person risky behavior. Infectious organisms can also live in blood, vaginal secretions, and semen, all of which can easily transfer during sex. The risk is considerably higher without using protection, like condoms and dental dams.
Getting an STD Test in New York City
In New York City, there are several low- to no-cost options available to test for STDs, but with a first come, first serve basis at locations that may not be convenient during hours that are even less convenient, it can be very difficult to benefit from the service. Thanks to STDcheck.com, you now have the option to avoid the awkward situation altogether with online STD tests.
With STDcheck, patients take their test at a convenient location through either a urine or a blood sample–sometimes both will be necessary, depending on what you’re concerned about. If you test positive, you’ll have the chance to talk with an online physician to explain what comes next in terms of treatment and future prevention.
The following are some of the most common STDs, and STDcheck tests all of them:
Chlamydia is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, found only in humans. It is the most common bacterial STD, and one of the most common infectious causes of eye and genital diseases around the world. Women infected with chlamydia typically do not present any symptoms, but can include:
- change in vaginal dischange
- bladder infection
- light lower abdominal pain
Left untreated, chlamydia can result in painful sexual intercourse, bleeding between periods, and pain in the pelvis.
Caused by the herpes simplex virus, genital herpes also affects the cervix, the skin, and other parts of the body besides the genitals. In fact, there are two types of herpes strains: HSV-1 and HSV-2. It is considered a chronic condition.
Many people never present herpes symptoms and are unaware they are infected at all; this is because the virus typically remains dormant after it settles in the human body. To make matters worse, it’s highly contagious with direct contact. The most common way to obtain HSV-1 is by sharing utensils, surfaces, and straws, whereas HSV-2 more commonly transfers through oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
If genital herpes presents any symptoms, they usually include:
- vaginal discharge
- cold sore around the mouth
- pain when urinating
- general sense of malaise
- blisters on the cervix
- painful red blisters around the buttocks, rectum, thighs, and genitals
Caused by its namesake virus, hepatitis B transmits through bodily fluids like blood and semen. In particular, you can become infected by or transmit hepatitis B by:
- getting pricked by a sharp object
- unprotected sex
- getting bitten by someone with hepatitis B
- drinking or feeding infected breast milk
- sharing an unsterilized syringe
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects the body, attacking the immune system and causing the patient to become gradually more vulnerable to disease and otherwise minor infections. Left untreated, the immune system fails exponentially as HIV becomes acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS).
Like other STDs, HIV can transmit not only through breast milk, blood, semen, and vaginal fluids, but also through blood-to-blood contact and exposure to rectal fluids. In rare cases, a blood transfusion can also infect the recipient with HIV.
A result of the Treponema pallidum bacterium, syphilis passes on through sexual contact and causes lesions on the body. Each stage of syphilitic infection has its own series of iconic symptoms, but the lesions are the obvious one to stand out. Pregnant women may pass this STD to their babies during pregnancy, which can lead to serious congenital deformities or even stillbirth.
An enemy of the mucous membrances, gonorrhea is also called the clap and the drip. The highly contagious bacterium thrives in moist, warm body cavities, and causes different symptoms depending on the sex of the patient.
Males can experience:
- testicular swelling or pain
- burning during urination
- yellow, white, or green discharge from the penis
Females, if they present any symptoms, can experience:
- swelling of the vulva
- conjunctivitis, or pink eye
- burning or pain during urination
- irregular bleeding between periods
- spotting after sex
How STD Testing in NYC Works
Taking an STD test may not be fun, but it is quick, easy, and rarely hurts. There isn’t a catch-all test that checks for all STDs at once; you’ll need to individually test for each one you’re worried about having been exposed to.
Depending on the test, you’ll take a:
- Urine test: You pee into the cup, and the urine is tested.
- Cheek swab: First thing in the morning, you swab the inside of your cheek to test for HIV
- Blood test: With a simple finger prick, you can send off enough blood to test for a number of STDs
It is possible to test for any STD even if you do not have any symptoms. Additionally, since some STDs can manifest the same symptoms and appear the same as each other, it is a good idea to test yourself for multiple infections at the same time.
What if I have an STD?
Testing positive for an STD can really ruin your week, creating a sense of embarrassment, upset, or even anger. Either way, try not to act too rashly; you are not alone, and you can treat the infection.
If you test positive on one of STDcheck’s tests, you’ll have the opportunity to consult with a doctor to discuss what is next for your treatment plan, including a prescription to be sent to your local pharmacy. For an additional fee, your partner can also receive his or her own prescription if there is concern of exposure.
On that note, it’s very important to inform anyone you’re currently having sex with or have recently encountered, so they have the opportunity to get tested as well, and treatment if necessary. It may be an awkward conversation, but it’s important, responsible, and necessary.
In most cases, an STD can be cured with a prescription medication, so you complete the full round of medications and move on with the rest of your life. Some cannot be cured, but it is possible to treat the symptoms and to keep the STD from spreading to any future sexual partners, creating as close a normal life as before the infection–just with a little extra precaution.
Keep in mind that millions of people with STDs are currently in relationships, enjoy sex, and have little difficulty in their day-to-day lives. In fact, most sexually active people will get an STD at least one time in their life. Having one is no cause for shame, nor does it say anything about your character; it just means you are another human being who became infected. Truthfully, these infections can occur indiscriminately to anyone who has been in sexual contact with someone, which is the majority of people on the planet–and remember that some can spread through other means.
If you have trouble accepting your diagnosis, be sure to have a trusted family member, partner, or close friend to lean on. A therapist would also be a great idea, especially since they are trained to deal with people suffering from emotional burdens. Online support groups are also an easily accessible option to safely talk about your experience with others who can relate and offer advice.
Is My Information Safe and Private?
From the moment you interact with STDcheck, whether through the website or on the phone, the company takes full responsibility for safeguarding any information that you provide.
STDcheck follows federal law, state law, and HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the one that protects your private medical information from people who are not authorized to have it, preventing abuse and healthcare fraud. By preserving your right to have the authority to grant this access alone, HIPAA strongly serves to protect your privacy. STDcheck complies with HIPAA as one component of their overarching commitment to security and privacy.
All health information transferred through STDcheck is private
If you choose test through STDcheck, you will be given a unique ID code to bring to a lab of your choice to complete your test without having to fill out paperwork or show your photo ID. The code also allows you to monitor the test and get results when they’re ready.
All website data is secure
Like all reputable online companies, STDcheck’s system is fully protected using a 128-bit SSL encryption, with the added protection of the HL-7 interface standard in the healthcare industry. Whether you make an online order or call to speak with a Care Advisor, your information is safe from the beginning of the process all the way to the end.
No health insurance is accepted
Because STDcheck does not take health insurance, the company minimizes the amount of potential access points to your sensitive personal information. Not only that, but it prevents the health insurance company from taking your results and attaching them to your medical record; if you don’t want your family or everyday doctor to know you dealt with a passing chlamydia infection, there’s no need for them to remember after you’ve treated it.
Because no health insurance is involved with STDcheck, you’ll be responsible for the payment. Several options exist:
- American Express
- Cashier’s checks
- Money orders
- Flex Spending Accounts
- Health Savings Accounts
When the transaction is complete, all financial and personal information is destroyed. You’ll see the transaction as “HealthLabs.com” on your billing statement. Results take up to two days.
Results are confidential
Once your results are ready, you receive an email informing you, and your unique ID code can be used to retrieve the information. If you test positive, you’ll get the chance to talk with a physician online. Otherwise, the ID code is destroyed.