If you’re curious about what types of STDs can show up on an STD test, you’ve come to the right place! This guide will help you learn more about what types of STDs can be detected by blood tests and swab tests, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. Note that blood tests tend to be more accurate than swab tests at detecting STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, but both tests are useful in identifying the presence of various STDs.
How to conduct self-examinations
For adults, check yourself for genital warts and other STD symptoms. Examine your genital area for bumps, blisters, sores, or redness that won’t go away. These are signs of syphilis and other infections. Any time you experience unusual vaginal discharge or burning during urination, get a test then see a doctor to make sure you don’t have any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Be aware that some STDs do not show symptoms, so it is important to always get tested.
When to get a STD test?
If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get STD testing every year. If you have symptoms that might be from an STD, speak with your doctor about getting tested and treated. And while having an STD doesn’t mean you have HIV, it is possible to contract both at once if there are cuts or sores during sex. You should also consider STD testing if: you had a recent sexual encounter; you use IV drugs; you have multiple sexual partners; there has been a case of HIV in your area; your partner tells you they may have been exposed to HIV; you engage in high-risk behavior—such as unprotected sex.
Talk to your doctor for guidance on what STD tests are right for you, as well as when and how often these tests should be performed. Rates of STDs are on the rise in the United States: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1 in 2 sexually active people will get an STD by age 25. That number jumps to more than 1 in 4 women and almost half of all gay men. Chlamydia trachomatis, gonorrhea, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and HIV are common STDs that affect millions of Americans each year. While most STDs will go away on their own or can be cured with medication within a couple of weeks, chlamydia and gonorrhea could damage fertility for life. HSV-2 stays in the body forever but does not cause any permanent health problems until it recurs through some form of skin contact during an outbreak.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about preventing an STD or other infections during unprotected sex and outbreaks. Some treatments work better than others: for example, condoms reduce chlamydia transmission, while pills like PrEP reduce the risk of contracting HIV infection. Discuss safer sex options with your healthcare provider so you know how to protect yourself before heading into a new relationship or sexual encounter. While STD rates continue rising in America, there are steps we can take today to prevent them from reaching even higher levels in our future generation. To begin, visit our website to find an IMG Health Clinic near you.
***Caveat: Always consult with your physician for diagnosis and treatment advice. This post was written for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat illness.***
How reliable are STD screening tests?
STD screening tests are highly effective. However, it’s important to remember that they don’t diagnose your STD—they simply detect its presence or absence in your body. For example, many people who have HSV-2 (herpes) don’t even know they have it because their symptoms aren’t severe enough to warrant diagnosis and treatment. That being said, though you may feel like you have no reason to visit your doctor if you think you know what’s going on down there, STD testing is an important part of maintaining good sexual health and reducing your risk for developing other conditions later in life (especially if left untreated).
So talk to your doctor or get a screening as soon as possible; taking care of yourself now will keep you healthy over time! Here's a quick breakdown: typically it takes between 2-10 days to get your results, 3 business days after you give them your sample.
Note: Simply using condoms every time can greatly reduce your chances of getting STDs.
Types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Syphilis, hepatitis C, herpes, and HIV are diagnosed using a blood test. Bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, herpes, and, HIV are typically diagnosed using a swab test. Herpes is sometimes (though rarely) diagnosed by way of skin biopsy. Syphilis is typically treated with antibiotics but not necessarily with antiviral medications for HIV or hepatitis C. Antiviral medications to treat hepatitis C usually do not require any sort of testing before beginning treatment. Other STDs and genital warts are typically treated with topical treatments that require no testing at all other than simply observing whether or not your symptoms have cleared up in order to determine whether or not you've successfully been treated for your condition.
Herpes is typically spread through vaginal and anal intercourse, but there is evidence that it can also be transmitted through oral sex. It sounds unlikely but things such as poor hygiene and similar practices amongst couples could lead to transmission of HSV2 from one partner’s mouth to another partner’s anus via genital contact due to small amounts of saliva making contact.
This type of infection most often occurs when there has been skin-to-skin contact with broken skin or sores on either partner. Genital-to-genital contact, especially when two partners have active herpes lesions, does transmit infection more easily; however, some experts believe that asymptomatic shedding plays a significant role in spreading HSV.
The virus remains contagious until medications are taken to control outbreaks, which usually takes about three weeks after the onset of symptoms – although factors like stress and illness can lengthen or shorten healing periods. In addition, outbreaks tend to be less frequent initially so chances for transmission decrease quickly once the medication is begun. Transmission from patient to health care worker has been documented and thus gloves are always worn when examining any active lesions.
Frequency of Gonorrhea Testing
Anyone with a risk factor for gonorrhea should be tested for it annually, according to the United States Preventative Task Force. Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 50 percent of men with gonorrhea do not have symptoms, and therefore, many cases go undiagnosed. The CDC recommends annual testing for those at risk for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Herpes Testing Guidelines
The herpes blood test is used to diagnose herpes, also known as Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Unlike a herpes culture or a herpes PCR, a herpes blood test detects antibodies your body makes to fight off an infection. A positive result means you have antibodies that indicate you have been exposed to one of these viruses at some point in time. A negative result indicates that there are no detectable levels of anti-herpes antibodies present, which may mean you are either not infected with herpes or it has not been long enough since exposure for those antibodies to show up on tests.
Frequency of Chlamydia Testing
Chlamydia is a bacteria that can cause painful urination and abnormal discharge in men and women. When left untreated, chlamydia has serious consequences for your health and fertility. Most people who contract chlamydia don’t experience any symptoms, so it’s important to get tested regularly to protect your sexual health.
Frequency of HPV Testing
How often should you get tested for human papillomaviru (HPV)? The average time between tests is around 3 months, but it all depends on your specific risk factors. If your primary risk factor is a history of multiple sex partners and unprotected sex, you may need to test more frequently. The same applies if you’ve had unprotected anal sex with men. On average, women are tested for HPV at the age of 21 through a cervial swab test and men are tested by swabbing an active infection.
Frequencies of Hepatitis B Tests
Approximately 2,500 people in America are infected with hepatitis B every day. In fact, a majority of people worldwide (3 billion) have been exposed to hepatitis B and at least 400 million individuals actually suffer from chronic infection. That’s why doctors recommend routine testing for anyone who wants to protect themselves against one of more than 200 strains of hepatitis-causing viruses. The recommendation is an annual blood test on patients who are sexually active or who use or have used IV drugs.
Frequency of STD Testing in Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)
When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk for acquiring and transmitting them than heterosexual males. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that gay and bisexual men make up 2 percent of male Americans over the of age 14, but comprise 83 percent of new HIV cases among all Americans.
If you’re sexually active, you should get tested at least once every year, getting tested will benefit you and your partner(s). If this sounds like you contact us to get tested.