Sexual activity, especially when involving multiple partners are involved, always means a risk of getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). While only HIV is talked about in the mainstream media, there are other STDs that are far more common and while most of them are not deadly, they can significantly harm your health, fertility and increase the risk of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms do protect to some extend, but especially for diseases transmitted via skin to skin contact like Herpes or infections that can be easily spread by oral contact or mere touching of the partners and own genitals, like Chlamydia, there is always a risk, even if you have protected sex only.
A yearly STD screening is recommended by most experts, for women as well as for men, for the most common STDs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. If you are a high risk patient as defined by the CDC (more than one sexual partner since the last test, gonorrhea or chlamydia tested positive, men who has sex with men) additional testing for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis is recommended.
Regular testing for Herpes and HPV (or alternatively a PAP test if under 30 years of age) is a good idea, since unnoticed HPV infections multiply the risk of getting cervix cancer.
You can’t see, smell or otherwise notice most STDs. People having an STI neither look ill, nor do they have a hygiene problem. STDs are not limited to any age groups, people with certain sexual preferences, they are by far more common than statistics about HIV only may make many of us believe. The CDC estimates are shocking: About 20 million new STD infections each and every year, a prevalence of 110 million infections in total, costing the American healthcare system an incredible 16 billion in direct medical costs per year.
While some people develop clear symptoms quickly a few days after infection, many don’t, especially women. Untreated, many of them can do permanent damage to your health and fertility, most are not as deadly as HIV and can easily be treated with antibiotics.
STD testing if offered by many free clinics, but these clinics have some mayor disadvantages compared to private local lab testing:
- Free clinics do not offer real privacy, everybody visiting the clinic at the same time exactly knows you are there for testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Discretion is not guaranteed.
- Most free clinics have a waiting list and getting an appointment can take many days or even weeks, especially in larger cities.
- Free clinics often do the rather painful swabbing when testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea instead of using advanced urine tests with similar accuracy.
- Most free clinics do not offer early HIV detection tests, hepatitis or herpes testing
- Free clinics often are a quite uncomfortable environment since they are working on a low budget, have a limit of daily tests and are understaffed. Medical consultation is often very limited, even when tested positive.
- Free clinics only accept Medicaid insurance, the price depends on your income.
If you are looking for 100% privacy, fast results, convenience and a satisfaction guarantee, private lab testing via a reputable service like STD Test Express is recommended. Your advantages:
- Full discretion, nothing will appear in you primary medical records without explicit consent, no one will know why you are visiting the lab.
- Results usually within 3 days
- If applicable (positive testing) a doctor consultation is included.
- Most mayor insurance plans accepted in most states, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Wellmark, CareFirst and others.
- Many different payment options.
- Thousands of lab locations nationwide, no need to drive a long distance to the next free clinic.
Additional information of STDs, as well as news and statistics can be found of the official CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/std/general/default.htm
We always recommend a so-called 8 panel test if you were never tested before, it also offers the best value for money compared to single tests and covers the most common STDs: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B + C, Herpes HSV 1 + HSV 2, HIV and Syphilis. This package either contains a normal HIV test or early HIV test. The early HIV test detects the RNA of the virus directly after 6 days, the normal HIV test detects antibodies which usually can be found within 3 months after a possible infection. Although the early test is more expensive, it’s the most secure way of testing, since in few (rare http://hivtest.cdc.gov/faq.aspx) cases antibodies can even take 6 months to develop. So, trying to save money on this test often involves a long time of uncertainty.
Wondering what the beautiful image in the header is showing? A colored scanning electron micrograph of a HIV-infected human H9 T-cell, yellow is the virus. Get STD tested!