A sexually transmitted infection (STI) test will check to see if a person has acquired an infection or virus from engaging in any type of sexual activity. STIs can be bacterial, which are curable, or they can be viral, which are not curable, but treatable. A person can have a STI and not even know it; therefore getting tested (at least once a year if someone is sexually active) is important because not all STIs show symptoms.

Common FAQ’s regarding STI testing:

What STI test will I need?

  • That can depend on what a person is being tested for. An exam of the genital and/or anus area may be needed to look for signs of infection like, excessive discharge, rash, warts or sores. Common STIs like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea can be tested through a urine sample. Sometimes a health care provider will take a blood sample or swab of the area to test for infections.

How long do the tests take?

  • Most tests can be done during your appointment, and results may be provided the same day or within a couple of days, especially if the sample has to go to the lab. The clinician will let you know you when and how to retrieve your results.

When should I get an STI test?

  • A person should get tested:
    • If they have had unprotected sex (vaginaloral, or anal) without a condom or dental dam.
    • If they think they might have an STI.
    • Before engaging in sexual activity with a new partner
    • If they have had multiple sexual partners or engage in risky sex behaviors.
  • Anyone who is sexually active (engaging in any type of sexual behavior) should get tested at least once a year, even if they use condoms every time.

How can I prevent getting STI’s?

  • Well, the good news is that all STIs are preventable!
  • Using condoms (latex or polyurethane) or dental dams correctly and consistently each time someone has sexual intercourse.
  • Reducing number of sexual partners.
  • Not having sex. This includes vaginal, oral, or anal sex, and naked genital to genital rubbing.

What if I never get tested?

  • Someone could have an STI and pass it on to other sexual partners
  • Someone could have long-term effects like, infertility, blindness, death, cervical cancer, liver damage, etc.

It’s important to have conversations with partners about each other’s sexual health history before engaging in sex. It’s just as important as getting yourself tested, so ask questions because it’s your health! To make an appointment for STI testing call 714.922.4100 (Orange County).

More resources:

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/std-testing

 

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