Here are some guidelines for STD testing for specific sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
Get screened annually if:
- You’re a sexually active girl or woman under age 25
- You’re a woman older than 25 and at risk of STDs — for example, if you’re having sex with a new partner or multiple partners
- You’re a man who has sex with men
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 analyzed in a laboratory. Screening is important, because if you don’t have signs or symptoms, you can be unaware that you have either infection.
HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages HIV testing, at least once, as a routine part of medical care if you’re an adolescent or adult between the ages of 13 and 64. The CDC advises yearly HIV testing if you are at high risk of infection.
Request STD testing for HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis if you:
- Test positive for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia, which puts you at greater risk of other STDs
- Have had more than one sexual partner since your last test
- Use intravenous (IV) drugs
- Are a man who has sex with men
STD Testing for Syphilis is done by taking either a blood sample or a swab from any genital sores you might have. The sample is examined in a laboratory. A blood sample is taken to test for HIV and Hepatitis.
No good screening test exists for herpes, a viral infection that can be transmitted even when an infected person doesn’t have symptoms. Your doctor may take a tissue scraping or culture of blisters or early ulcers, if you have them, 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.
The most commonly used diagnostic tool for tuberculosis is a simple skin test. A small amount of a substance called PPD tuberculin is injected just below the skin of your inside forearm. You should feel only a slight needle prick.
Within 48 to 72 hours, a health care professional will check your arm for swelling at the injection site. A hard, raised red bump means you’re likely to have TB infection. The size of the bump determines whether the test results are significant.