What to expect and why STD testing is important for your health

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, HIV, crabs… oh my! If you were already afraid of hospitals and visits to the doctor, making an appointment to get tested for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can be scary on all levels. As if waiting for the results wasn’t stressful enough, you’re forced to change into a paper hospital gown and sit in a sterile white room, surrounded by shiny medical instruments, until the fateful moment when the nurse walks in and begins to ask you several super personal questions… But if you’re having sex, it’s highly recommended that you get these tests done.

First things first, what is the difference between STIs and STDs?

Excellent question! STI is short for sexually transmitted infections, while ETS stands for sexually transmitted diseases (also known as venereal). Although these terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same thing, keep in mind that not all infections become diseases. This is for example, not all women who contract the human papillomavirus (HPV) will develop cervical cancer. Whatever you call it, a checkup is important whether you have symptoms or not.

But is there anything worse than spending the afternoon in a waiting room?

If you imagine an entire day surrounded by prehistoric gynecological instruments and huge needles, you are confusing your family planning clinic with a house of terror. Basic tests for STDs, while uncomfortable, are routine and usually painless. You will probably spend more time in the waiting room than you will actually need to do all the tests. In fact, this will be one of the easiest days you’ll ever spend at the doctor and one of the best self-care practices you can do for your sexual health.

Prevention and early treatment, with the help of medical care, is the only way we can have and enjoy sex in the safest way possible. Spreading a potentially dangerous disease to sexual partners you don’t know, and postponing treatment for a generally curable infection, which could cause long-term health effects, makes no sense. But even with these reasons, there are a series of myths that stop us from taking the step:

Myth #1: I don’t need to get tested. Everything is fine “down there”.

There are enough statistics on STDs to write a thesis, but there is one you need to know to convince yourself that testing is absolutely necessary. Most STDs have zero symptoms, including those that can lead to serious health problems like infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. You won’t wake up with sores on your genitals the morning after you get an infection. Your body may not send signals or symptoms may show up long after you’ve had sex with someone else. Even the nastiest diseases, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can creep into your body without showing any noticeable pain or discomfort.

Conclusion? Yes, get tested.

Myth #2: Medical tests? Oh, that has to hurt!

There are many medical tests that are no doubt painful, but a basic STD screening routine, if anything, will be nothing but uncomfortable. Most STDs can be found through a urine sample or a quick finger prick to obtain a few drops of blood. They may also swab the inside of your cheeks to collect saliva. In the worst case, you will undergo the typical gynecological examination with your legs in stirrups, in which samples will be taken by rubbing with a swab (cotton swab) of the areas that could be infected, such as the cervix, vaginal walls or the vulva.

If you have noticed sores in or around your genital area, they will be cleaned with a swab, and transferred to a glass slide to be viewed under a microscope. And if necessary, you and your doctor could discuss additional tests. The best thing about this is that most sexually transmitted infections, like chlamydia and trichomoniasis, are curable if caught early. And those that aren’t, like hepatitis B and herpes, can be dramatically reduced and brought under control with prompt medical attention before they get out of control.

Myth #3: I’ve never talked to a doctor about my sex life before, shame on me!

Even if you’ve never had a conversation with your GP about your sex life, believe us, they’re scared to death they’ve spoken in detail with other sexually active patients before. Your doctor has been trained to perform all kinds of tests and answer any questions. And when it comes to health and proper body care, every patient is equally important. Leaving key details out of the conversation jeopardizes a correct diagnosis and can lead to the wrong treatment or medication.

Without the proper medications to combat your specific sexually transmitted disease, you could pass the infection on to your sexual partner or suffer further harmful effects on your body. If you’re still too embarrassed to talk to your regular doctor, visit a specialist family planning clinic, where most doctors and nurses test for STDs daily (and often for free).

These medically educated individuals solve sexual health issues for a living and take pride in creating a non-judgmental environment. They will guide you through your appointment from start to finish and ensure your comfort every step of the way!

Please note that the advice offered by Intimina may not be appropriate for your particular case. Always consult your doctor if you have specific concerns related to your health.

We would like to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this outstanding material

What to expect and why STD testing is important for your health

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