The scenario goes something like this…

You’ve recently met someone new and ended up engaging in sexual activity before you could get up the courage to suggest that you each get tested for sexually transmitted infections.  If that weren’t a big enough lapse in judgment, you also forgot about the condom.  A couple, slightly nerve-wracking weeks pass and you begin to experience the dreaded sensation of pain associated with a bump in the genital area.  Fear and panic come crashing in like a tidal wave.  You think to yourself, “This can’t be happening to me!” You wonder what to do now.  Should you just ignore it and hope it goes away?  Should you look online and try recommended treatments for herpes?  Should you get tested?

Now, our recommendation to you is:  Take a deep breath.  You’ll get through this and we are here to help.

If you are experiencing something unusual in the genital area after an encounter of unprotected or protected sex, especially with a new partner, getting sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing is the best thing to do for a few reasons:

Peace of mind

Many times individuals are worried about what they might find out if they get tested.  While it is true that sometimes a person’s worst fears are realized, it is also true that the visit might bring good news…no infections and nothing to be concerned about. Often, even when the news is not good, there is a sense of relief that at least the anguish of not knowing is gone.  It is not uncommon for our minds to play tricks on us.  When we are so worried about a possible diagnosis, it is easy to mistake normal bumps for bumps that result from an STI.  It happens all the time.  Allowing a health professional to perform an exam and collect specimens from any sore or a blood draw can actually bring clarity to your situation that many times also brings a reduction in anxiety.

Accuracy of results

If you are experiencing a sore that is caused by the herpes virus, the sooner that sore is swabbed for testing, the greater the chance of getting a good result.  Testing the lesion directly is the best way to know if it was caused by the herpes virus.  As the sore heals, obtaining enough material from the sore may be difficult and the reliability of the test goes down.  Once that lesion or lesions are healed, it is difficult to know what caused that particular outbreak and it is unpredictable when another outbreak will occur.  A blood test can identify if you have been exposed to the herpes virus, but cannot tell you when you were exposed or where on your body your infection is located, oral area or genital area. If a blood test is negative for herpes, it is wise to retest in three months to give the body adequate time to produce the antibodies that the test is designed to identify.  If the repeat test comes back positive, then it is probable that it is a recent infection.

Status awareness

If your worst fears are realized and you are diagnosed with genital herpes or genital warts, the good news is that you are able to limit the spread to others.  Often times something like herpes or HPV genital warts are transmitted to others when one doesn’t even know they are infected.  Many are horrified of the idea of passing on an STI, as if they were being irresponsible or malicious.  The truth is, you can’t fault someone for passing on an infection if they didn’t even know they had it.  However, it is even better to know your status and eliminate the risk of passing anything on to your partner.

Education and Clarity about future options

It is not uncommon for a concern about a painful bump to be the reason for a person’s first visit for STI testing.  That visit can help bring understanding of the risk involved in sexual activity that isn’t always presented in the steamy narratives of movies and music.  Learning steps to take to reduce or eliminate one’s risk for an STI is provided to help you move forward in being the healthiest version of you.

If you would like more information about a genital herpes infection, read here. If you want more information about genital warts, read here.

Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page (put in link) or calling 812-418-3230.