What’s involved in testing?
Okay, so you’ve decided to get tested. Now what? The type of test—or tests—you need can vary depending on your age, sex, sexual history, and which STD you’re getting tested for. Remember, there is no single test that can screen for all STDs.
Your test may include:
Physical exam – Your health care provider may examine you for any signs of an infection, such as a rash, discharge, sores, or warts. For women, this exam can be similar to a pelvic exam.
Urine sample – You may be asked to pee into a cup at your clinic/doctor’s office. Urine samples can be used to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Discharge, tissue, cell or oral fluid sample – Your provider will use a swab to collect samples that will be looked at under a microscope. These samples can test for certain STDs, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, or HIV.
Blood sample – Your provider may take a blood sample, either with a needle or by pricking the skin to draw drops of blood. These can be used, for example, to test for syphilis, herpes, or HIV.
Make sure you know what you’re being tested for.
Sometimes a diagnosis can be made based on symptoms or a physical exam. Treatment could be prescribed right away. Other times, your provider may need to send a sample away to a lab. Waiting for results can be stressful. Always follow up! If you don’t get your results, it’s as good as not having been tested. Don’t assume your results are negative if you don’t hear back—find out for sure.