STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are probably more common than you think. However, people are often afraid to talk about or get tested for STDs because of embarrassment or fear. However, confidential STD testing is widespread and readily available to many populations. Read on to find out more about where, when, why, and how you can get tested.
Where Can I Get Tested for STDs?
Most any medical walk in clinic will have STD testing centers on hand. Additionally, you may be able to find free STD testing centers in mobile health clinics around your area. Check online or at a community bulletin to find services in your area — they’re never too far out of reach.
When Should I Be Tested for STDs?
Anyone who is sexually active should be tested for STDs at least once a year, even when following safe sex practices. People who engage in unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners might want to be tested more frequently. It is possible to contract STDs through oral sex, too, so it’s never too soon to be tested.
How Do You Ensure Confidential STD Testing?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects patient information from unsolicited access. Your results are made secure and cannot be released to anyone else without your express permission. If you test positive, your place of screening will be able to provide you with information to take the next step forward.
Which STDs Can I Be Tested For?
You can provide a urine sample to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as a blood sample for HIV, oral herpes, genital herpes, hepatitis A, B, and C, and syphilis. There are also genital examination options for HPV and molluscum contagiosum. All are recommended annually.
How Do I Know If I Already Have an STD?
Some common symptoms of STDs include unusual discharge, genital sores, itchiness or redness, bumps, blisters, warts, unusual odor or color of urine, or white spots in your pubic hair.
Remember, no matter how safe you are, STDs can appear unexpectedly, and some may have no outward symptoms at all. For the sake of your personal and sexual health, both you and your partner should be tested for STDs on a regular basis.