Do you know that there are self-diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted infections? – Blog Dexeus Woman

They are sold in pharmacies, they are very simple, and they offer results quickly. In addition, they save time, because you do not have to go to any medical center to take the test, and they allow you to find out if you have had any risky sexual behavior.

However, some require prescription, and not all pharmacies sell or can dispense them right away. In addition, the majority of the population does not even know that they exist or what sexually transmitted infections (STIs) they can detect, and many of these infections do not cause any symptoms, making it difficult to diagnosis and facilitates your transmission.

In fact, many young people are not even aware of the risks involved, since since AIDS became a chronic disease, STIs are believed to be a problem of the past, which has led to a certain relaxation when using condoms or other barrier methods. Proof of this is that the incidence of some of these sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, It has grown a lot in Catalonia in recent years, especially among young women between 18 and 24 years old. This disease can be contracted through oral, vaginal, or anal sex and can affect the urethra, cervix, rectum, or throat. Therefore it is important to know that there is a self-diagnostic test, which can help to detect it easily and quickly to stop its expansion.

For other STIs, such as Human papilloma virus (HPV), there is no self-diagnostic test, but there are specific tests for its detection. You can consult your gynecologist or go to sexual health centers that offer information and perform these tests. This infection can cause fertility problems and favor the development of a Cancer if it is not detected and treated early. There is also a vaccine that protects against HPV, which can be applied from 9-15 years of age – in schools it has been applied for years free of charge and systematically to all girls in primary school – up to 45 years of age. In Dexeus Woman We recommend and facilitate the application of this vaccine, and for both women and men, since we have a Men’s Health Unit.

If you are interested in the subject, in this post we answer some frequently asked questions, so that you have more information:

What STI self-diagnosis test can be purchased at the pharmacy?
According to the data provided by the Member of the Pharmacy Office of the Barcelona College of Pharmacists (COFB) currently the only STI self-test that can be purchased without prescription is the detection of the human immunodeficiency virus (VIH), which can cause AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
You can also buy, but with a prescription, a self-test to detect the chlamydia and another to detect other infections that affect the urinary tract Yet the genital area.

In which cases are these tests indicated?
Whenever you have any suspicious symptoms or have had risky sexual behavior. In the case of the self-diagnostic test for the detection of HIV, it is important to do it three months after the date of the last risky sexual intercourse so that the negative result is reliable, since the presence of antibodies cannot be detected until a period of between 6 and 12 weeks, which is the time it takes for the body to develop antibodies to HIV. This required margin time is called the “window period.”

How much do they cost, approximately?
They do not have a price set by Health, but it is affordable; It fluctuates between € 20 and € 40 depending on the test.

Approximately how long does it take to get the results?
It depends on the test, but generally between 5 and 15 minutes.

Are they as reliable and effective as those performed in a medical center?
The tests marketed as self-tests comply with the specifications of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) in terms of sensitivity and specificity. But it is important to buy them in pharmacies, which have qualified personnel for their dispensing and implementation, and they can advise you if you have any questions. Do not ever buy anything on your own over the internet because you do not have the guarantee that the product and / or its results are valid.

What symptoms can indicate that I have an infection?
First of all, you should keep in mind that many STIs do not have symptoms or, if they do, they can be similar. In general, they can be a symptom of STIs: the presence of an unusual discharge from the penis or vagina, having sores or warts in the genital area, frequent or painful urination, itching or redness in the genital area, having blisters or sores in or around the mouth, an abnormal vaginal odor, itching, anal pain or bleeding, abdominal pain, or fever.

Do all pharmacies dispense them?
Not all. It depends on each pharmacy and its providers. In the case of HIV, in addition to the self-test, there is a circuit to carry out the diagnostic test in pharmacies, but for this they must be adhered to the HIV Early Detection Program with Rapid Test.

How are the self-tests carried out?
They can all be done at home, and the procedure is very simple.

For him HIV self-test You must take a blood sample, one drop is enough and the product leaflet explains how to perform the puncture and obtain a step-by-step diagnosis.

To perform the chlamydia self test Collect a vaginal sample with a swab and dip it into a solution, shake the mixture gently and pour a drop of the mixture into the test device. Results are obtained in 15 minutes. This test cannot be performed if you are pregnant, during and up to 3 days after menstruation or if you have a urine infection. Anyway, in the instructions it explains everything in detail.

To detect urinary tract infections you have to collect a urine sample and insert a strip containing reagents. The strip has three result fields: to detect nitrites, proteins, and white blood cells. If you have an infection, the fields will change color.

If the result is positive, what should I do?
Ask for a visit with your gynecologist or go to a medical center that has specialists in sexual health so that they can tell you what treatment you should follow. Untreated chlamydia infections can lead to infertility problems and increase the risk of an ectopic (tube) pregnancy and preterm labor. Likewise, it is essential that you inform your partner, if you have one, or the people with whom you have had sexual intercourse in the last 12 months (according to the forms of mandatory notifiable diseases of the Generalitat de Catalunya) so that they can also carry out the treatment, and to abstain from sexual intercourse until the infection clears completely or is under control. In the case of HIV, early diagnosis and treatment helps stop the progression of the disease and improve the prognosis and quality of life of infected people.

What are the treatments for sexually transmitted diseases?
Antibiotics can treat STIs caused by bacteria, such as chlamydia, or parasites. If they are caused by a virus, there is no treatment; Although in some cases treatments can be applied, but restricted to treating the symptoms (in the cervix, such as conization) or in the vulva (in the case of genital warts).

Is there a way to prevent STIs, other than using a condom?
Yes, the best way to prevent them is to avoid risky sexual behaviors, always use barrier methods, avoid tobacco –as it reduces the local defenses of the genital area– and get vaccinated against HPV. Performing regular gynecological check-ups also helps to detect them early. So, don’t forget about your annual gynecological checkup appointment!

We hope that this information has been useful to you, and if you have any questions, you can consult our specialists from the Gynecology Service, the Sexuality Unit and the Dexeus Mujer Men’s Health Unit. If it is urgent, remember that we also offer a visit without time.

We would like to say thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding material

Do you know that there are self-diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted infections? – Blog Dexeus Woman

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Catherine Coaches