No one likes to think about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, if you’re sexually active or participate in certain risky behaviors, you have the potential to contract and spread STDs.
The fact is, there are about 20 million new STD infections annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And STD testing is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis and prevent serious health consequences if you acquire a disease.
Individual recommendations regarding the type and frequency of STD testing depend on certain factors, such as the presence of symptoms, lifestyle, sexual history, and overall wellness. Karl Trippe, MD, and the staff at Waco Primary Care in Waco, Texas, have the expertise necessary to help you establish an STD testing schedule that’s appropriate for your circumstances.
Following our recommendations can help you identify infections, improve outcomes, and prevent the spread of infection to others. In this blog, Dr. Trippe discusses the recommended criteria for scheduling STD testing.
The CDC recommends a schedule of routine STD testing for individuals based on certain characteristics, such as age and lifestyle, regardless of whether there are symptoms or known exposure to an infected partner. These STD testing recommendations include:
Other factors, such as having had an STD in the past, may increase your risk of contracting an infection, so your recommended timetable for testing may vary based on your needs.
You can become infected with an STD when you have unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex with a partner who is infected. STDs can also spread by sharing needles for intravenous drugs with an infected person. Having sex with multiple partners or with a person who has multiple partners increases your risk of contracting an STD.
Even if you’re not aware of exposure to an STD, testing may be recommended if you have symptoms of an infection, such as:
While routine testing can identify infections that exist when you don’t know you’re infected, you should get additional testing if you believe you’ve been exposed to an STD.
If you believe you need STD testing, the timing of your test will depend on the estimated time of your infection. Some STDs can exist without symptoms, so it’s important to test after your body has had time to produce antibodies to the infection. Testing too early may produce a negative test result.
Our office can help you determine the appropriate timing for STD testing, so you can get the most accurate results possible. The testing window for a specific STD varies by infection and can range from a few days to several weeks.
Timing for your test will also depend on whether the test is looking for the pathogen that causes the disease — which would be present earlier — or the antibodies that the body produces in reaction to the disease, which would take time to develop. Certain factors, such as the health of your immune system and whether you have a history of a similar infection, may also determine when you’d be more likely to get the most accurate result.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be advised to retest at a later time to confirm an initial negative test result.
Accurate and timely STD testing can help protect your well-being now and in the future. To find out more about scheduling STD testing, call 254-399-6545 or book an appointment online with Waco Primary Care today.