STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases….Talk. Test. Protect.
In our TALK TEST PROTECT blog series so far, we provided some tips on TALKing about STDs with a partner. Now let’s talk about TESTing for STDs.
You may hesitate to get STD testing due to a number of questions. The questions may concern confidentiality, or cost, or location, or ‘what are you going to do if the test is positive?
- Confidentiality: If you get STD testing at UHCS, your testing is done confidentially, but not anonymously. Confidential testing means that the only people that will have access to your test results are those with access to your medical record. All health care testing sites provide confidential testing. Anonymous testing (not providing your name) is available at some sites for HIV testing only.
- Cost: Depending on your health insurance and symptoms, you may receive a bill from the lab for STD testing. You may want to call your health insurance company and update your local address to make sure that the bill will come directly to you. Please note, however, that most lab bills will not state specifically what test was done.
- Location: UHCS offers STD testing as part of a visit with a clinician. There are also other testing sites close to campus. These sites are listed on the UHCS website.
- What if the test is positive? First remember, STDs are treatable and many are curable. There are different treatments for different STDs. If your results are positive, we can provide treatment right away. Remember: It is important that you follow the treatment recommended by your clinician—completely. For example, if you're on antibiotics and your symptoms go away, you should still continue your medication until it is finished and STOP all sexual activity until 2 weeks after this.
Ask for STD testing if you think you need it
If you think you need STD testing, request it from your clinician. Talk to your provider about your concerns and what tests you would like or need. See your clinician for STD testing if you have any signs of an STD, such as:
- Genital sores, including fluid-filled blisters, ulcerations or warts
- Unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
- Abdominal pain or fever along with unusual vaginal discharge in women, which may indicate pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Some students want to be tested for “everything.” Regrettably, this cannot truly be done. For some STDs, including genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), there is no practical way to screen everyone, so testing is usually limited to high-risk groups and people with signs and symptoms of particular STDs. Even if you ask your doctor to test you for everything, you can't know for certain that you or your partner will be screened for or clear of all STDs. And so, you will still need to PROTECT yourself and your partner.