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Should I Get Tested for a Sexually Transmitted Infection?




If you are sexually active, getting regular STI tests is one of the fundamental ways to protect your health. You may not see a need to get tested if you are not experiencing any symptoms, but regular tests can catch the disease before it manifests to treat it simply and effectively. STI testing is confidential and low-cost; some clinics offer them for free.  An STD testing in Oregon City often includes a discussion of your sexual history and recommendations from your doctor on how to protect yourself against contraction or transmission, depending on your results. 

What Is An STI?

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is a viral or bacterial disease transmitted through sexual intercourse. Some common examples include;

  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital Herpes
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Genital warts or human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which progresses into AIDS

Examples Of High-Risk Populations When It Comes To STIs

According to the CDC, everyone should get tested for STIs like HIV at least once in their lifetime. However, some high-risk groups may require routine tests to inform them of their status. They include:

  • Men and women who have multiple sex partners
  • Men (or people who identified as male at birth) who have sex with persons of the same sex
  • People who are dating other people with multiple sex partners
  • Pregnant mothers
  • Sexually active youth below 25 years
  • Persons having vaginal or anal unprotected sex
  • Persons who trade sex for money or drugs

Reasons To Get Tested For STIs And Benefits Of STI Testing. 

  • Many physicians recommend regular STI testing to identify the infection early and treat it before the symptoms become severe. For instance, STIs like Syphilis, if left untreated, can lead to problems with the heart, mental health, and even death. Some STIs can cause infertility.
  • Knowing your status allows you to manage transmission by alerting your sexual partners so that they can get tested.
  • For pregnant mothers, STI testing reduces the risk of transmission to the unborn child in the womb and at birth.

How To Test For STIs

Physicians have different ways of testing diverse STIs, as there is no one test for all.

  • HIV is tested via a blood test or orally through a saliva test. Studies have shown that a blood test for HIV is more accurate than a saliva one- cases of false negatives are more common when using the latter. 
  • For STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and more use a urine sample, a swab of genital fluid, or a blood test. The swab is taken from inside the female’s vagina or the tip of the male’s penis. 
  • Some clinics provide pre or post-counseling services to help patients with positive results. 

Cons Of Getting Tested For STIs

Testing for STIs has many benefits for you and your sexual partner(s), but you may encounter unforeseen challenges, especially when you get a positive result.

  • You will need to inform your sexual partner so they can also get tested. Telling them of your positive results may affect your relationship negatively.
  • The risk of getting a false positive or negative result depends on how the disease progresses. For the HIV test, you may need to test again after three months to confirm your results. Testing for syphilis may also produce a negative result as the test may not detect antibodies immediately after infection. 

Treatment of STIs

Some STIs are curable, while others are incurable. If incurable, physicians focus on relieving the symptoms so that the patient can live the most comfortable life possible with the disease. 

  • STIs like Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis result from bacteria and are curable through the prescriptions of antibiotics. 
  • STIs like HIV, Genital Herpes, and HPV have no cure yet, so physicians recommend drugs like ARVs for HIV to manage the symptoms. 

How To Minimize The Risk Of Infection

You can minimize the risk of contracting an STI by having protected sex using a condom. The condom creates an impenetrable barrier that is only compromised if the condom breaks during intercourse. Using a water lubricant minimizes the risk of condom breakage. If the condom breaks, seek medical help immediately. 

Regular STI testing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved one from STI transmission. If you are not sexually active, you may not need routine checkups as you lie within the low-risk populations. A positive result is the beginning of a new journey to treat or manage the disease and not a life-shuttering experience, as some may perceive.