How Do I Know if I Have an STI or STD?
Everyone loves a free gift, right? Who wouldn’t want a free drink from Starbucks? What is even nicer is a free gift when you least expect it. Like when you’ve had a hard morning and you hit the drive through at the nearby Starbucks and find out that the car ahead of you generously paid for your order. Who doesn’t love that? On the other hand, some free surprise gifts are better left withheld or avoided. A Sexually Transmitted Infection, for example. Yeah… no thanks! So, how can you tell if your partner has a sexually transmitted infection gift waiting to be presented?
For one, unless symptoms are clearly obvious (warts, sores or blisters in the genital area, experiencing pain or burning while urinating, discharge from the penis or vagina, or redness or swelling at the head of the penis or in the vaginal area)you can’t tell by just looking at your partner. Most STIs show no symptoms and therefore aren’t detected even by the person carrying them.
In addition, many people are not aware of places to even look for an infection. Some places that provide testing and treatment for STIs fail to test areas that can be infected with gonorrhea and chlamydia, such as the throat through oral sex or the anal area through anal sex. A person can test negative for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the genital area and positive in the oral or anal area. It happens. If you have put yourself at risk of infections in those areas, get them tested too.
While it would be easy to just say, “get yourself tested”, it is not that simple. It is true that STI testing will go a long way in helping to provide clarity to you or your partner’s status, it is important to understand that a “clean” bill of health is not 100% guaranteed to prevent giving or acquiring an infection. For example, some infections like HIV or herpes won’t show up on some tests if the test was performed during the “Window Period”, that period of time between when a person is infected with a virus and when the body begins producing antibodies against that virus that are picked up on a test. Also, some infections are not part of routine STI testing. Herpes is not routinely tested unless specifically asked for or indicated. Currently there are no recommended Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) tests for men, yet it is by far the most common STI of all.
In light of these unsettling facts, how does one avoid accepting or giving one of these “gifts”? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the experts in disease prevention, state on many of their STD Fact Sheets:
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting an infection:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex1
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.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (10/04/2017). Chlamydia-CDC Fact Sheet. Retrieved 04/26/2017, from cdc.gov: https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm