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Importance of Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections
Importance of Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections
Importance of Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Importance of Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), may lead to severe health problems if it is not treated on time. Some of these include the following:

  • infertility
  • blindness
  • cancer
  • organ damage

Regretfully, many people do not get quick treatment for STIs as some of them do not show any symptoms at all which make it difficult to notice them easily.

Who need to be tested for STIs?

If you are sexually active, then it is definitely a good idea to perform STD test in London. It is important to get tested if:

  • you want to start a new relationship
  • you and your partner do not want to use condoms
  • your partner has several sex partners or cheated on you
  • you have too many partners
  • you detect symptoms that suggest you are having an STI

What STIs should you be tested for?

There are different kinds of STIs and you need to talk to a doctor to know which ones to get tested for. They might encourage you to test for one or more of the diseases such as:

Your doctor will not ask to undergo test for herpes unless you are having any exposure to it.

Consult with your doctor

Your doctor won’t test you for all STIs during the annual examination for your sexual health checkup. Many doctors do not test patients regularly for different STIs. It is important to talk to your doctor for STI testing and which tests they plan to perform.

It is extremely important to look after and moitor your sexual health condition. If you are extremely worried about a specific symptom or infection, then inform your doctor about it. The more honest you can be with your doctor, the better advice you will get from your doctor.  

It is necessary to get yourself screened when you conceive as STIs can have an effect on the fetus. Your doctor should perform screening for STIs, among other things.

You should also be tested if you have been forced to have sexual intercourse or any other sexual activity. In case you have faced sexual assault or were forced into any kind of sexual activity, it is advised to seek care from a healthcare provider.

Know your risk factors

You should discuss about your sexual risk factors with the doctor. In particular, you should inform them if you like to engage in anal sex. Some anal STIs won’t be detected by using standard STI tests. Your doctor might suggest undergoing an anal Pap smear to detect screening for precancerous or cancerous cells that have been linked to human papillomavirus (HPV).

You need to inform your doctor about:

  • Kinds of protection you use at the time of anal, oral and vaginal sex
  • any medications you may be taking
  • any suspected exposures you have had to sexually transmitted infections
  • whether you or your partner have sex with other partners

Where should you get tested for different STIs?

You can obtain testing for STIs at the doctor’s office or a sexual health clinic according to your preference.

Both at-home tests and online tests are there for some kinds of STIs, but they are not reliable all the time.

How can STI tests be performed?

Based on your past sexual history, the doctor will ask you to undergo different tests and check you for STIs. Some of these include – blood tests, swabs, physical exams or urine tests.

Blood and urine tests

Most STIs can be tested with either blood or urine samples. Your doctor may order urine or blood tests to detect if you have any of the following:

In certain cases, blood and urine tests do not provide accurate results like other forms of testing. It might take a month or more after getting exposed to some STIs for blood tests to be reliable. For HIV, it may require a few weeks or months for the tests to detect the infection.


Many doctors use cervical, urethral or vaginal swabs to detect for different STIs. If you are female, they may use a cotton applicator for taking cervical and vaginal swabs at the time of pelvic examination. However, if you are male or female, they may require urethral swabs by inserting a cotton applicator into the urethra. If you have had anal sex, they may require a rectal swab to check for infectious organisms into the rectum.

HPV testing and Pap smears

A Pap smear is a test that detects early signs of anal or cervical cancer. Women, who suffer from HPV infection due to HPV-16 and HPV-18, are at greater risks for developing cervical cancer. Both men and women who are engaged in anal sex might suffer from anal cancer due to HPV infections.

A normal Pap smear result will tell absolutely nothing if or not you are having an STI. If you want to check for HPV, your doctor will ask to order a separate HPV test.

On the other hand, an abnormal Pap smear result does not always mean that you have or will get anal or cervical cancer. Many abnormal Pap smears can get resolved without undergoing any kind of treatment. If you are suffering from an unusual Pap smear, your doctor might suggest going for HPV testing. In case the HPV test is negative, it is quite possible that you might suffer from anal or cervical cancer in future. But HPV tests are not the only way to detect cancer.

Physical examination

Some STIs like genital warts and herpes  can be diagnosed easily with physical examination and other tests. Your doctor may conduct a physical examination to detect for bumps, sores and other signs of STIs. They can even take samples from any body parts and then sent them to the laboratory for further testing.

It is important to inform your doctor when you notice any changes on or around the genitals. If you like to have anal sex, do let him know about any changes on or around the rectum and anus.

Sexually transmitted infections are quite common these days and testing is widely available. The tests may differ based on which STIs your private sexual health clinic in London recommends you to perform by checking your past sexual record. The doctor can also help to know the probable benefits as well as risks of performing different STI tests. Furthermore, he will suggest you to go for suitable treatment options in case the test result turns out to be positive for any kind of STIs.