STI Health, Awareness and Testing

Did you know you could have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) without ever having symptoms and never having vaginal intercourse? It’s true!! It’s scary and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Diagnostic testing is the best way to identify an STI and determine treatment. National guidelines, risk factors, and other criteria help the medical field determine when and how to screen for STIs.

There are also several preventative measures both adolescents and seniors can take to further protect themselves and their overall health.

Reasons to get tested:

  • Because Even Virgins Can Have STDs
  • Monogamy Is Not a Guarantee
  • Because It’s Never Too Late to Play Safe
  • Because You Can’t Be Treated Until You’ve Been Diagnosed
  • Because Not All STIs Cause Symptoms
  • Because Untreated STIs Can Cause Permanent Problems
  • Because You Respect Yourself and Your Sexual Partners

Here are some of the most common STIs, and how to screen and treat them:

Chlamydia and gonorrhea – Health care providers screen people for chlamydia and gonorrhea using a swab test or urine test and send it to a lab for analysis.

HIV, syphilis and hepatitis – Your health care provider tests you for syphilis by taking either a blood sample or a swab from any genital sores you might have. Your provider also takes a blood sample to test for HIV and hepatitis.

Genital herpes – Providers generally only recommend testing for genital herpes for people who have symptoms or other risk factors. But most people with herpes never have any symptoms but can still spread the herpes virus to others.

A blood test to determine Type 2 Herpes also may tell if you had a past herpes virus infection, but results aren’t always reliable, as false positives and false negatives are possible depending on the stage of infection and outbreak.

HPV (Which can also be linked to Cancer) – Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts. Many sexually active people get HPV at some point in their lives but never have symptoms. Most of the time, the virus goes away on its own within two years.

  • Pap test. Pap tests, which check the cervix for irregular cells, are recommended every three years for women between ages 25 and 65.
  • HPV test. Women between ages 25 and 65 should have an HPV test alone or an HPV test along with a Pap test every five years if previous test results were within the standard range. Testing may take place more often for those who are at high risk of cervical cancer or those who have irregular results on their Pap or HPV tests.

In summary, with the rise of STIs around the country diagnostic testing and prevention have become critical topics. It’s not just college campuses anymore that see the increases. These increases can be seen in retirement communities, high school students and actively dating adults. The health implications of untreated STIs is well documented and diagnostic PCR testing through vaginal fluid and blood have become the industry standard to provide healthcare works with the best results and treatment protocols.

Additional Resources