There are many kinds of STIs and many kinds of STI screening tests, depending on factors such as your age, risk factors and symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 20 million new STI cases are diagnosed every year – and that number is growing. If you’re concerned that you might have an STD, it’s important to get tested so your treatment can begin promptly.
Typical STI testing includes a blood and urine test. Staying hydrated prior to your appointment will make it easier for you to urinate and have blood drawn. Also, relax! We understand that the subject of sexually transmitted infections is sensitive and possibly difficult to talk about and we will do everything we can to make sure you feel comfortable.
Sexually transmitted infections can easily pass from one person to another and frequently don’t have obvious symptoms. STDs are transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral and anal sex, and they can affect both men and women.
Chlamydia is the most common cause of an STI. Depending on sexual preferences chlamydia can be found in the urethra, vagina, rectum or throat. Keep in mind that many people don’t have symptoms at all but still should be treated. Chlamydia can be treated by a course of antibiotics for both partners and if untreated can cause infertility.
Similarly to chlamydia, gonorrhea can be found in the reproductive organs in both men and women, as well as the throat and rectum. Along with an abnormal discharge, men can experience pain in the testicles, and women may have pain in the lower abdomen. Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics, but it can lead to infertility if left untreated.
Syphilis begins as a painless sore that appears in the days or months after sexual contact with an infected person. If untreated, syphilis progresses to a body rash. In the later stages, it can affect the internal organs, heart, and brain. An infected woman can also transmit syphilis to her baby during pregnancy and birth. The stage of syphilis will dictate the choice and course of antibiotic treatment.
Human Papillomavirus/ HPV
HPV is a virus with many strains. Depending on the strain the symptoms and consequences can vary and can range from genital warts to cervical, penile, vaginal or and anal cancer. Currently the standard surveillance for HPV is cervical swabs by pap smear.
Often called genital herpes or simply herpes, this STI/STD can cause sores on the genital and rectal area, including the thighs. Herpes is a chronic infection that can last a lifetime, but symptoms can be treated with antiviral medications when an outbreak occurs.
Unprotected sexual intercourse is one of the modes of transmission for hepatitis. Hepatitis is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The normal liver functions to filter the blood of toxins and metabolize medications meanwhile the liver with hepatitis is unable to regulate these vital functions. Antiviral treatments exist for hepatitis.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is a virus transmitted by either sexual contact or blood-borne contact (blood transfusions or the sharing of drug needles). This virus attacks the immune system so the body can’t fight off infections. HIV is chronic, but a variety of medications can help manage symptoms.