Every pregnant woman should be tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C starting early in pregnancy. People at risk of infection should also do so. Health care providers test people for chlamydia and gonorrhea using a urinalysis or swab. Swabs are taken from the inside of the penis in men or from the cervix in women.
The sample is then studied in a laboratory. Screening tests are important because if you don't have symptoms, you may not know you're infected. Providers usually only recommend testing for genital herpes to people who have symptoms or other risk factors. However, most people with a herpes infection never have any symptoms, but they can still transmit the virus to others.
Your healthcare provider can take a tissue sample or culture of blisters or incipient ulcers, if you have them, and send them to a lab. However, a negative test doesn't always mean you don't have herpes, especially if you have symptoms. Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts.
Many sexually active people get HPV at some point in their lives, but they never have symptoms. Most of the time, the virus goes away on its own within two years. Home testing kits for certain STIs, such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea, have become more common and popular. For home STI testing, you collect a urine sample or an oral or genital swab and then send it to a lab.
Since everyone who is sexually active can get an STD, getting tested is highly recommended. Even if you or your partner appear to be healthy, because you may still be infected. STDs don't always cause symptoms, so it's possible to get or spread an infection without knowing it. Even if you don't have any symptoms or aren't considered to have a higher risk of becoming infected, you should get tested for STDs regularly.
All sexually active people should get tested. People at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases should get tested annually. This includes those who engage in risky sexual behavior (for example, pregnant women should also get tested). Sexually transmitted diseases are common, but the types of STI tests you need may vary depending on your risk factors.
Other tests may require a blood test, and in diseases in more advanced stages, such as syphilis or herpes, a lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal puncture) may be necessary. Since there is no single test that can rule out all STDs, there are several types of tests you may need to undergo to perform a full screening test. If the result of a home test for an STI is positive, contact your healthcare provider or a public health clinic to confirm the test results. Although the results of some STDs and STIs may take longer to receive than others, test results are usually delivered within one to ten days.