Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are common, but the types of STI testing required may vary by different risk factors. There are some guidelines for STI testing for some specific sexually transmitted infections.

Sexually active individuals should get screened annually if they are:

  • Sexually active girl or woman under age 25
  • Women older than 25 and at risk of STIs — for example, if they are having sex with a new partner or multiple partners
  • Men who has sex with men
  • Have HIV
  • Have been forced to have intercourse

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea screening is done either through a urine test or through a swab inside the penis in men or from the cervix in women. The sample is then analysed in a laboratory. Screening is important, because if there are no signs or symptoms, patients can be unaware that they have either infection.

Testing for HIV or syphilis is required if:

  • Test positive for another STI, which puts patients at greater risk of other STIs
  • They Have had more than one sexual partner since your last test
  • Use intravenous (IV) drugs
  • They have sex with men
  • They are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
  • Have been forced to have intercourse

Test for syphilis is carried out by taking either a blood sample or a swab from any genital sores. The sample is examined in a laboratory. A blood sample is taken to test for HIV.

There is not an appropriate screening test exists for herpes, a viral infection that can be transmitted even when a person doesn’t have symptoms. In this case, doctor may take a tissue scraping or culture of blisters or early ulcers for examination in a laboratory. But a negative test doesn’t rule out herpes as a cause for genital ulcerations.

A blood test also may help detect a herpes infection, but results aren’t always conclusive. Some blood tests can help differentiate between the two main types of the herpes virus. Type 1 is the virus that more typically causes cold sores, although it can also cause genital sores. Type 2 is the virus that more typically causes genital sores. Still, the results may not be totally clear, depending on the sensitivity of the test and the stage of the infection. False-positive and false-negative results are possible.

If results of the tests positive for an STI, the next step is to consider further testing and then get treatments. In addition, it is necessary to inform sex partners. Sexual partners are required to be evaluated and treated.