Because a lot of people find that talking about STD testing is an embarrassing thing, we have found that many people don’t know what is right and wrong when it comes to the subject. You might be wondering how often you should get tested, where you should go, what is going to happen to you during the test, what is going to happen to you if you come up positive, or any other number of questions and hopefully after reading this you won’t have those questions any more. Another major question that we see a lot is that people don’t really understand the difference between an STI and a STD. The answer to that question is that they are both the same thing. Some of the most common std infections include hpv, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, HIV, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and bacterial vaginosis.
When you go to get tested, depending on the type of screening you do you will either be required to give blood, give urine or give both. We highly recommend that you do both because that way you will have the most accurate test results (some diseases can show up in one test and not the other). You may be asked what kind of “panel” test you want done. Don’t be confused by this terminology, the term panel in this context simply means which STDs you want to screen for. Most basic tests cover all of the diseases listed above but you should be going out of your way to get a “full panel “ test done at least once a year. A full panel test will look for all of the above but most importantly it will also look for HIV and AIDs which are deadly if contracted. If you do manage to get HIV, getting tested and finding it early is the only thing that will save you. Some STDs are going to be obvious and very apparent. You might feel a burning sensation on your genitals while sitting down or you might actually feel a burning while you are peeing. You might see an open sore or a bump or something out of the ordinary as is the case with many forms of HPV especially genital warts. Herpes can leave painful open sores and once you feel the pain of herpes you will know that you need to make it to the doctor as quick as possible.
If you fall under these criteria you should be getting tested a lot. The main criteria is being sexually active. If you are sexually active and even if that means you’ve only ever been with a single person and you always used protection with that person, you should get tested at least once a year. Females should be getting tested slightly more than males because of the way their anatomy works they can actually be more susceptible to holding the diseases within their vaginas. Any individuals that use heroin or any drugs that require needle injection should be especially concerned with knowing their STD status. HIV and AIDS have been known to spread through the drug user communities by way of needle infection so please if you are going to do these drugs make sure to use sanitary needles and never, ever, ever share with another individual. There are special places in los angeles (los angelesstd testing NOW!)dedicated to just that: making sure that needles are clean for drug users.