STD vs. STI
STDs are sometimes called STIs (sexually transmitted infections). This is primarily done because the word infection has a less negative connotation than the word disease. However, infections may not always show symptoms. Therefore, it may turn into a disease if it’s not screened and treated.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: These infections are extremely common and they are often tested simultaneously. This particular infection is often overlooked, especially in women, because it does not always show symptoms. It can be caused by anal, oral, or genital contact with another person who is infected.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This is the most rampant STI in the US because it’s easily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, whether it’s sexual or not. Genital warts will typically appear, but if they don’t further testing can be done through biopsy or colposcopy.
Syphilis: Syphilis is a bacterial infection transmitted through genital, anal, or oral contact. During the initial stages, sores may appear but they are often painless.
Herpes: There is type 1 and type 2 herpes. Type 1 is typically linked to cold sores and type 2 is usually associated with genital herpes. However, research has shown that type 1 herpes can also cause genital herpes. People may be contagious even if they do not show visible lesions. This is why herpes affects so many people.
HIV: HIV is transmitted through the blood or unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be transferred through other bodily fluids as well, but this is usually rare.
Hepatitis C: Since Hepatitis C is a viral infection; it is often transferred through skin contact or blood. Hepatitis C is rarely transmitted through sexual intercourse. The risk rate is about 1 in 190,000 sexual occasions. However, this particular STD must be monitored as it can cause liver cancer and long-lasting liver disease.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis is very similar to Hepatitis C since it is a viral infection that can cause liver disease. However, it is commonly transferred through semen or blood.
What is STD Screening?
An STD screen, looks for sexual infections even if symptoms are not present. However, there are no guidelines for when you should receive an STD screen. Each individual is different so it really depends on your risk level and lifestyle.
Why is it Vital to Get Tested?
Tests can be used to stay informed, and like we said, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Getting tested may notify you of an infection that you didn’t know you had. If this is the case, treatment can be started earlier, which usually results in higher success rates. STDs that are left untreated can cause serious health problems.
What Types of Tests are Out There?
There are plenty of test options out there because there is not a single test that encompasses all STDs. Most tests require a blood or urine sample. If you have visible sores, a swab test can also be performed. There are even rapid at-home HIV tests that provide results in about 20 minutes.
What to be Tested for and When?
The common sense decision would be to get tested for everything. However, this option can be extremely pricey. It can also lead to misleading results. Therefore, we recommend consulting with a medical professional. However, you should get tested if you:
- Are sexually active
- Have unprotected sex
- Are involved with a risky relationship
- Were previously infected
- Experience symptoms
STD screening may not be the ideal topic of discussion. But if it were to come up, would you know how to deal with it properly? If you’re sexually active, you should definitely utilize STD testing. However, the tests you receive will depend on your particular risk factors.
There are times when testing is not really necessary but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Plus, if you test positive, most STDs are curable and all of them are at least treatable.