STD Testing Overview and Basics
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections caused by bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. They can also be referred to as STIs, or sexually transmitted infections. In some cases, they can be considered very serious and require urgent medical attention.
Both men and women are at risk of obtaining an STD in the event they participate in unprotected sexual activity.
If you think you may have an STD, it is important to be in contact with a medical provider, especially if you experience any of the following:
Common Symptoms of STDs/STIs
- Discharge from penis
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain during sex
- Painful or burning urination
- Rash on your truck, hands, or feet
- Sore or swollen lymph nodes
- Sores or bumps around the genitals, mouth, or rectal area
- Unusual or odd-smelling vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
STD testing is a relatively simple process but requires expressed consent in order to complete it. When patients come in for testing, they should understand that STD testing requires some comprehensive information before testing can begin. However, once a patient is ready to test, the process is quite simple. The three main things that patients must make clear first before their test include:
- Asking for an STD test and if you want to be tested. A patient must request the STD before they receive it and needs to fully consent to their provider
- Consider STD testing if you have had any unprotected sex, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Learn the differences between different STD tests and if you may need more than one.
Patients that know they are ready for a new screening should speak with any of our providers.
There is no single test for every sexually transmitted disease — tests are specific to each infection. And some infections can be found using different kinds of tests. You and your healthcare provider will decide what STD tests make the most sense for you. In most cases, your provider will first ask you questions about your sexual activity to better identify necessary tests.