Screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is something that all people starting from age 13 need to do at least once in life, and there are some people who need to test much more frequently than that. That is because high-risk people are not the only ones who get them; they’re a common reality for millions of Americans, and some can transmit to you even outside of sex.
Unfortunately, it’s just as common for people to live their lives normally without realizing that they have an infection. They may have incorrectly believed they would be able to tell if they had become infected, and that they had prevented infection simply by not performing high-risk behaviors. However, though these are just misconceptions, they are dangerous ones to live by.
Even doctors are not always the most informed about these risks, so they don’t tell their patients about how important to it is to get tested, because they don’t realize how necessary it is. Bottom line: Get screened regularly.
Why Should I Get Tested?
We’ve told you how important it is to get tested, but why?
Even virgins can get infected.
Just because you have never had sex before doesn’t mean you are invulnerable to a sexually transmitted infection. There are several infections that can spread just from touching skin. Oral herpes in particular is highly contagious, able to transmit through even normal, casual contact between family members; in fact, it’s not uncommon to contract oral herpes in childhood, but then they become potentially contagious during oral sex for the rest of your life.
It’s never too late to stay safe.
It’s unfortunately common for people to stop getting tested after they enter a relationship because they assume they would have already caught something by now from their monogamous partner. But what’s the point of worrying about accidents and unfaithfulness when you could just as easily prevent the infection in the first place? It can be too late to cure an infection, but it’s not too late to start having safer sex.
Why worry when you can prevent?
There’s no way around it–having an STD just isn’t fun. However, it’s even worse to have a disease and not know it, as well as worrying that you have one and being uncertain about your status. Too many people avoid testing themselves for years out of fear and then finally get their sense of relief after they get their clean bills of health–or even diagnosis; once you have a name for something, there are ways to treat it. For that matter, there are some infections that are much better when caught early, such as with HIV.
STD Testing in Tampa
There are several places to get tested for STDs in Tampa; the issue is rarely finding an ideal, convenient location to get tested. Sometimes, the hours are restrictive, however, or you may be worried about feeling embarrassment. For some, that’s a real concern as associating your ID with such tests can cause the results to wind up on your medical record.
To avoid all of this, there are online services like STDcheck. Even though your medical record is fully confidential and your doctor will not share this information to anyone you don’t authorize, you might balk at the concept of just having to sit in the middle of the waiting room for who knows how long. By opting for online testing, you have the time to read about the process in detail, ask any questions you’d like, and then choose the specific infections you want to be tested for, and nobody will be able to see what you are doing.
With STDcheck, the only thing you’ll need to do is pick a local partner clinic where you’ll be in and out in just minutes. You won’t need to wait around in the room with everyone else, and you won’t need to bring out your photo ID either; you will be given a unique ID code that acts as a form of untraceable identification. Not only that, but since you will attend a general lab clinic and not an STD-specific establishment, nobody will know what you’re doing there.
After a short waiting period, you will receive notification of your results via email, and you can use your unique ID code to retrieve the results from our website. That means you don’t need to go back to the clinic or risk someone intercepting a phone call regarding the matter.
Lastly, we offer consultation and counseling in the event of positive test results. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact us at your own convenience, and you won’t need to worry about someone else hearing your conversation.
Risk Factors for STD Infection
Although there are several ways to become infected with a sexually transmitted disease, there are just as many ways you can prevent infection in the first place. By knowing the major controllable risk factors, you can reduce your vulnerability as much as possible without practicing abstinence.
Though you’re not guaranteed complete protection when using a barrier method like a condom, it is one of the best first lines of defense for protecting yourself. Even persistent viruses that condoms aren’t especially effective against still offer some degree of protection. With the exception of total abstinence, consistently using condoms is your best bet for stopping an infection.
Being under 25
You are much more likely to become infected with a sexually transmitted disease under the age of 25 for several reasons. For one, females under 25 have smaller bodies and are more vulnerable to undergo tearing during sex, making them biologically more susceptible than an older woman. Similarly, the cervix continues to develop into the mid-20s, and underdeveloped cervixes are susceptible to STD infection. Finally, the young are simply more likely to have risky sex, especially if they have consumed drugs or alcohol.
Using only birth control pills
Many people don’t even think about STDs when they have sex, instead of trying to prevent pregnancy alone. Because of this, heterosexual couples tend to rely exclusively on birth control pills for safety in their encounters. While birth control pills protect you from pregnancy, they aren’t going to do anything if the couple doesn’t rely on barrier sex or safer practices. Dual protection is always the best option.
STD Blood Testing Options
Blood tests at the lab clinic can detect the following STDs:
Although it is not the primary means of testing for herpes, blood tests are used for diagnosis. The only downside is that testing the blood can’t tell you where either strain is infecting you if you are not presenting any visible sores. They’ll only inform you whether or not HSV-1 or HSV-2 is present in your system.
It’s important to get screened regularly, because this virus is highly contagious even when there are no symptoms present. Failing to talk to your partner about it can lead to painful conversations when they are inevitably infected from not taking the necessary precautions.
Normally, HIV is detected and diagnosed by way of blood tests. Some oral tests can also check for the virus in your saliva. Generally, you must test positive twice in order to officially diagnosed as HIV positive. However, confirmatory testing is generally just as invisible as STDcheck’s initial testing process as it’s done using the same batch of blood.
You will not necessarily get to see which tests were performed on your blood sample; rather, you will only see the results that the tests have concluded together.
Several blood tests exist to test for syphilis. In combination, these blood tests can tell whether or not you are infected with syphilis, as well as whether or not you have previously been infected.
Just like with syphilis, there is more than one type of blood test to check for hepatitis infection. They can also analyze your blood to verify your history of the previous infection, in addition to your current status.
If there isn’t a blood test available for an STD, then usually you’ll have to do a urine test instead. If neither one of these is available, then a swab is usually required to obtain a bacterial culture, or a physician may need to examine any visible sores.
Sometimes, you may need to take these additional swabs alongside the blood tests, depending on your specific situation. For example, it’s much more accurate to diagnose herpes if the clinician is able to acquire a sample of the sores around the mouth or genitals alongside those blood tests. This is not always the case, however, and blood tests are usually enough.
Urine Testing for STDs
Regardless of the STD you are testing for, providing a urine test is completely safe. All you need to do is pee into a cup that the clinic provides, and then you go right home and wait for the results. At the lab, they use tests to test for bacterial DNA. There are no conditions that would make it inadvisable for you to take a urine test for sexually transmitted diseases.
Before the urine test
With the exception of ensuring you have had enough to drink beforehand, there is no special preparation involved in taking a urine STD test. However, before you provide the urine to the lab clinician, be sure to verify the tests you are in for. If necessary, it may be worth asking the clinician if additional tests should be added in case you may be at risk for other types of STDs. Finally, you can ask how long it takes for the lab to test the sample and return the results to you; not all labs work at the same rate, but you can generally expect it take up to a week.
During the urine test and after
If you were taking a urine test through your normal doctor, this would occur during your standard appointment. With STDcheck, you can order the test you need and pick the lab that is most convenient to you during the hours that work best for you. At this clinic, you pee into a cup that is provided by a technician, and the sample is tested after you leave. You have the option to leave immediately after providing the sample; there is no reason to stick around once you are done.
What If I Test Positive?
After receiving a positive test result, you should:
Get treated. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, it’s important to get treated for your sexually transmitted disease. If nothing else, untreated infections will lead to very serious and permanent problems to your health.
Talk to your partner. It’s the right thing to do, and your partner could be infected too, so they need to get tested and potentially treated. Just like you, their health is at risk if they are infected and do not get it treated. For that matter, if you get treated and your partner remains infected, you will likely just get infected all over again.
Get retested. As we just implied, you can get infected with the disease over and over again. Test yourself again after three months of treatment.