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By: RSC Editorial Team

April 6, 2023

Five Major Signs You Need an STD Test

In the age of modern medicine, it’s easy to think STD cases are on the decline. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other STDs are steadily rising, and the World Health Organization estimates that more than one million people contract an STD globally every day.

If you’ve noticed weird sores, burning, or itching, you’re probably wondering, “What are the signs you need an STD test?” In this guide, you’ll learn about different types of STDs, risk factors, and information to help you decide whether it’s time for an STD test.

Different Types of STDs

Here, we outline some of the most common types of STDs and their symptoms.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Often, infected people don’t notice any symptoms, so they don’t even know they have it. If symptoms do appear, they present as open sores or painful blisters around the genitals or anus. You may also notice itching around your genitals or inner thighs.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of the genital tract. Symptoms may include:

  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Vaginal discharge or discharge from the penis
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Painful urination
  • Testicular pain
  • Bleeding between periods

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection that affects the vagina in women and the urinary tract in men. Symptoms include:

  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal irritation or itching
  • Strong vaginal odor
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina
  • Irritation or itching of the penis
  • Discharge from the penis

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection of the genitals. Symptoms include:

  • Painful bowel movements
  • Anal itching
  • Bleeding between periods or heavy periods
  • Painful urination
  • Cloudy, thick, or bloody discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Swollen or painful testicles

HPV

HPV is the most common STD. It usually has no symptoms, but infected people have a higher risk of cervical cancer.

Risk Factors

You’re at higher risk of contracting an STD if you:

  • Have unprotected sex
  • Have anonymous or multiple sex partners
  • Have sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Share needles with others
  • Have a history of STDs
  • Are between the ages of 15 and 24

When To Get Tested

Are you wondering, “What are the signs you need an STD test?” Even if you haven’t noticed any STD symptoms yet, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Some STDs can lay dormant for years before you notice something’s wrong. Get tested if any of the following situations apply to you.

1. You Have More Than One Partner

Aside from abstinence, having safe sex with just one monogamous partner is the best way to prevent an STD. But what if you regularly have sex with more than one person? Even if you think you’re being safe by using condoms every time, it’s still possible to catch and transmit certain STDs. Sexually active women and men in casual relationships should get tested for STDs every three to six months.

2. You Just Met Someone New

Before you engage in any kind of sexual activity with a new partner, it’s smart for both of you to get tested for STDs. Talking about STDs doesn’t seem very romantic, but it’s an important step for protecting the health of both you and your partner. By getting tested, one or both of you could uncover STDs you didn’t even know you had. And if both of your tests are negative, it’ll give you peace of mind to enjoy your new relationship worry-free.

3. You’re 13 to 64 Years Old

Everyone aged 13 to 64 should get tested at least once for HIV, even if they’ve never had sex. It’s possible for HIV-positive mothers to transmit HIV to their babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Since there is no cure for HIV, infected people can transmit it to others as they age.

You’re also at high risk of contracting HIV if you share needles with others. If you share needles or have unprotected sex with others, get tested every year for HIV.

4. You’re Pregnant

If you’re pregnant and have HIV, syphilis, or Hepatitis B, you could transmit these diseases to your baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. The immune systems of newborn babies aren’t yet fully developed, which means their bodies have a much harder time coping with infections than healthy older adults. STD symptoms in infants can be severe, leading to serious, long-lasting complications or even death.

Many states require doctors to test pregnant women for STDs in the first prenatal visit. If you’re positive, your doctor will want to develop a treatment plan to protect your unborn baby immediately. For instance, if you have syphilis, your doctor will start you on a penicillin regimen to prevent transmission of the disease to your baby during birth.

If you have an at-risk pregnancy, you should also get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia before giving birth. Factors for an at-risk pregnancy include:

  • You are overweight or obese
  • You have existing health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • You are a teenager or are aged 35 and up (advanced maternal age)
  • You’re pregnant with multiple babies, such as twins or triplets

5. You’re a Man Who Has Sex With Other Men

Men who have sex with other men are at higher risk of infection because many STDs can spread through anal sex. Often, gay and bisexual men don’t use condoms because they’re not worried about getting their partner pregnant. Unfortunately, people who don’t use condoms during anal sex have a chance of contracting:

  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia
  • Genital warts
  • Hepatitis B

Gay and bisexual men should get tested for STDs annually if they aren’t in a monogamous relationship with an uninfected person.

Which STD Test Is Right for You?

If you notice symptoms of any of the STDs listed above, you’ll have a better idea of which STDs to get tested for. If you’re unsure, tell your doctor about your symptoms so they can help you understand what test to take.

Unfortunately, no single test can check for all kinds of STDs. However, you can order a 10-panel STD test from Rapid STD Testing to check for 10 of the most common STDs.

Types of STD Tests

Are you wondering where to get an STD test? You can get an STD test at your local health clinic or order a rapid STD test online. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may want you to take a blood, swab, or urine test.

  • Blood test: During a blood test, a healthcare professional draws a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. STD blood tests are used to diagnose HIV, syphilis, and herpes.
  • Urine test: For this test, a healthcare professional will ask you to provide a urine sample in a sterile container. Urine tests are used to diagnose trichomoniasis and gonorrhea.
  • Swab test: Swab tests are used to diagnose gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HPV. A healthcare provider will use a swab to collect fluid samples from the site of infection, such as the penis, cervix, or vagina.

You don’t need to do anything special when preparing for an STD test. How long does an STD test take? You’ll typically get your results in five to 10 days, depending on the type of test you take.

Skip the Doctor’s Visit and Order STD Testing From Home

If you’ve noticed unusual itching, sores, or other STD symptoms, Rapid STD Testing is here to help. We offer a convenient way to order same-day STD testing from home — no doctor’s visit needed. Plus, our tests are guaranteed to be discreet. If you don’t want your partner or insurance company to find out you’ve been tested, don’t worry. We share your test results with no one but you.

If any of the above signs you need an STD test apply to you, get back your peace of mind with a same-day STD test. Order yours online or call (866) 872-1888 to find a lab or learn more about getting the information you need quickly, reliably, and, best of all, discreetly.

Medically Reviewed By DR. HARSHI DHINGRA,Pathologist (MD) on May 07,2024

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By: RSC Editorial Team
April 6, 2023

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