Sexual Health 5 MIN READ 98 VIEWS February 28, 2023

STD Testing: Everything That Needs Your Attention

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

STD Testing

STDs or sexually transmitted diseases are quite common and occur due to STIs i.e., sexually transmitted infections. Bacteria, viruses, or parasites find their way into your system and create infections. However, it is not essential that STIs result in STDs. Since the disease may erupt without any symptoms, it is imperative to get screened periodically for any infections if you are involved in sex with different partners. STD testing is not limited to those who have physical relationships with various partners. It is important when:

  • You are entering into a new relationship.
  • Your partner is physically involved with anybody other than you.
  • You have symptoms indicating sexually transmitted infections.
  • You are not having safe sex with your partner.

Taking care of your sexual health is very important. You should not feel shy to discuss your concern with your doctor. More so, if you have been a victim of any sexual assault or have entered into a sexual relationship with a new partner who has not undergone any STD tests.

Sexual Health Risk Factors

It is important to have knowledge about sexual health risk factors and discuss the same with your doctor. It is even more required if you are engaging in anal sex.

Anorectal STI is one of the risk factors that you should be concerned about if you are having anal sex. This infection can be detected with regular STD tests. You may be suggested with an anal Pap Smear test to detect precancerous or cancerous cells linked to the HPV i.e. human papillomavirus.

The other factors that have to be disclosed to your doctor are:

  • If you doubt exposure to any kind of STIs
  • You or your partner is involved in sex with other partners without protection
  • Existing medications
  • Safety measures adopted for vaginal, anal, or oral sex

Preparation for STD Testing

Deciding to go through STD testing requires a lot of courage. Your decision to undergo an STD panel test will be lauded as it shows your concern towards your existing or future partners. Irrespective of your sexual history, STD blood tests are recommended to ensure robust sexual health.

You should be mindful of the frequency of the tests which are linked to various factors. If you have had an unpleasant sexual encounter and you get the STD test done the day after the encounter, there are possibilities of no infection getting detected. The best person to aid you regarding the STD check up schedule is your doctor. The window period varies from 1 day to several months after a sexual encounter.

You should be open about the risk factors and your past to your doctor as suppressing any facts may result in the STD blood test going wrong or the STI remaining undetected. Where and how to test for STDs also depends. You should also consider the cost involved.

The best idea will be for you and your partner to get the STD check up done together. There are no specific guidelines or precautions to be followed for STD tests. STD blood test is possible even during your menstrual cycle.

Sexually transmitted infections can be treated and there is no need to panic about the test results.

Different Types of STI Tests

STI tests are suggested depending on your sexual history. Specific guidelines are followed for STI tests before deciding if the STI test is right for you.

You will be required to undergo the STI tests if you are exposed to any of these risk factors:

  • Testing positive for any other infections that could lead to other STIs
  • Have sex with different partners or if your partner has had sex with other partners after earlier tests
  • Homosexual partners
  • Planning for a child
  • Use of intravenous drugs
  • Exposed to forced sex
  • Experiencing any symptoms of STIs

The various tests recommended to check for any sexually transmitted infections may include the test for following:

1. HIV, Hepatitis, and Syphilis

Test for syphilis is done with your blood sample or a swab from any genital sores that you may have. HIV and hepatitis tests are done with your blood sample. The inclusion of HIV tests as a part of yearly routine health care tests is recommended for persons within the age group of 15 to 65. Others should undergo the test if they are prone to the risk of any STI.

2. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

A urine sample or a swab from the inside of the penis in men and the cervix in women will be required to perform the tests for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Testing for these infections is critical because if you have no symptoms the infection will go unnoticed which is not good for sexual well-being.

3. Genital Herpes

STI test for genital herpes is largely suggested when you have some symptoms or indicate other risk factors. But the dangerous fact is that most genital herpes cases are asymptomatic and can still be transmitted to others.

If any blisters or early ulcers erupt, a tissue culture or sample will be collected and sent for screening. A negative result, especially if there are symptoms of the infection, does not always infer that you are not affected.

Blood tests are done for this infection and also provide information about your previous herpes infection but cannot always be relied upon. Blood tests however help in identifying the herpes virus that has affected you. The two different strains are:

  • Type 1 virus can cause genital sores though it normally causes cold sores
  • Type 2 virus frequently causes genital sores.

However, the clarity of the test result depends on the stage of the infection and the test sensitivity. The negative or the positive results can turn out false.

4. HPV

Some particular strains of human papillomavirus cause cervical cancer while some can cause genital warts. Sexually active persons are prone to this infection in one way or another. But the infection goes unnoticed as there are no symptoms and it disappears on its own after 2 years.

Routine test for HPV is not suggested for men but only men who have genital warts are advised to undergo the test. The sample of the wart will be sent to the lab for screening.

Women on the contrary are advised to undergo:

Pap test: This test is advised for women between 25 to 65 years every 3 years to identify abnormal cells in the cervix.

HPV test: HPV test or HPV test along with Pap Test is recommended for women between 25 to 65 years once every 5 years if the earlier results are within the normal range. Women with a risk of cervix cancer or whose earlier test results have been irregular are suggested to undergo the test more frequently to rule out any infections.

HPV is also linked to throat, vulva, vagina, mouth, or penis cancers. Some strains of HPV can however be managed with vaccination. These vaccinations are most effective if taken within 9 to 26 years.

STI Testing at Home

There are At-Home kits available for some STIs like HIV, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia. The advantage of home testing is that you can collect urine or swab samples in the privacy of your home. However, the test conducted on samples collected at home may not be accurate. Whether the test results of your home sample are positive or negative and you do not have any specific symptoms, you should consult your doctor for further confirmation.


Sexually transmitted infections are common and there are various ways of STI testing available depending on which STI your doctor is suggesting the test. Do not suppress any facts about your sexual history. Being open about your issue will help your doctor to recommend the right STD tests and also prescribe proper treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions About STD Testing

The most important STD test to know about is HIV.

The most common STD tests are genital herpes(with symptoms), HPV (genital warts), HPV (cervical cancer), and Syphilis. These can be done either with blood or swab samples.

No single test can detect all STDs. Even STD panel tests will not include STDs like herpes and HPV. Some persons are at a high risk of certain STIs and are recommended routine tests for these STIs.

The STDs that you may have even without knowing as they do not show symptoms are:

  • Chlamydia
  • HPV
  • Herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • Trichomoniasis

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