If you are concerned you may have been exposed to an STI, schedule a visit with your physician or local STI clinic as soon as possible. Sometimes symptoms of an infection will show up within a day. Other times, it can take months for there to be an indication of a problem. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear or feel a sense of relief if they don’t. Many infections can linger, progress, and even do damage to body tissue before there are any symptoms. Testing can be conducted as early as a couple days after an encounter of unprotected sex and prove helpful. However, you may be encouraged to follow-up initial tests in 3 months to clear the time that it may take for some infections to show up. It is also highly encouraged that you abstain from further sexual activity until you have been tested and treated if necessary.
Most everyone who is sexually active should be screened for STIs at some point, whether condoms are consistently used or not. The exception would be if you have only ever had one sexual partner and you have been their only sexual partner. Even then, if you question your partner’s sexual history or faithfulness, STI testing would be beneficial.
Personal risk factors also need to be taken into consideration when deciding when and what to test for. Many people express the desire to “just test for everything”. It may seem like the safest approach. However, it is best to openly discuss your risk factors with your healthcare provider and allow them to determine with you what tests are important for you.
Here are some guidelines to help you determine if you should seek STI testing.
You should seek out STI testing if:
You are engaging in unprotected sex. Whether you have had one encounter of mutual masturbation, oral, vaginal or anal sex with only one partner or you have had many encounters with many partners, without using a condom or barrier.
You are engaging in high-risk sexual behavior. High risk behaviors include, but are not limited to, having more than one partner in a year, having sex with someone who has sex with others, men having sex with other men, having sex with random or anonymous partners or commercial sex workers, and engaging in sex in exchange for money or drugs.
You experience symptoms such as burning during urination, an unusual odor or discharge from your penis or vagina, or bumps or sores in the genital area. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine what tests to perform and treatments to offer based on your medical/sexual history, symptoms, and exam findings.
You have tested positive for an infection in the past. Once you’ve dealt with an infection, you are at higher risk of being reinfected. It is a good practice to be retested for STIs three months after treatment for an infection.
You are involved in a relationship that has a higher risk for being exposed. Maybe your partner is known to have HIV or Herpes. In addition to practicing safer sex, it is a good idea to be tested more frequently.
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 or calling 812-418-3230.