I'm Embarrassed to Get an STD Test: What's Involved?

I'm Embarrassed to Get an STD Test: What's Involved?

When you notice something different “down there,” your first impulse may be to ignore it. Or Google it. Strange sensations, smells, or lesions may make you worry that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). And yet, you’re afraid to book an STD test and afraid of what the test may reveal.

Even though this may be your first STD test, your OB/GYN has performed thousands of them. Every sexually active person needs to be regularly tested for STDs. Ignoring symptoms means you put yourself at risk for developing complications, including infertility.

At Mian OB/GYN & Associates, expert OB/GYN Dr. Rafiq Mian and our team understand that you may feel embarrassed to ask for or get an STD test. That’s why we offer them as part of our annual well-women exams and also conduct them when you’re pregnant or hoping to become pregnant.

The good news is, STD tests are just a normal part of our routine and quickly become so for you, too. They’re fast, easy, and pain-free. The best news is that the sooner you catch an STD, the more likely it is you can cure it or prevent complications.

An STD test starts with a phone call to our caring, knowledgeable, and discreet office team. If you’re holding back on an STD test because you don’t know what to expect, this guide helps answer your questions. 

We test for 10 common STDs at once

Most STDs can be detected through your blood or urine. We do panel tests that look for evidence of the 10 most common types of bacterial and viral STDs:

You can also request an optional test for trichomoniasis. If you have lesions on your genitalia, we may also recommend taking samples to test for herpes.

How we test your blood and urine

To test your blood, we simply disinfect a portion of your arm, and then insert a needle, which is connected to a series of blood collection tubes. Each tube is labeled with your name and the date.

We also ask you for a urine sample. We give you a collection cup and then you go to the bathroom. After using a pre-moistened towelette to remove excess bacteria, you urinate into the cup and leave it on a special shelf. 

You don’t have to prepare for the blood test. However, you may wish to avoid urinating an hour or so before your urine test so that you have enough urine to fill the specimen cup.

After we collect your specimens, we send them to a laboratory for analysis. Your results should be ready within a week or two.

When to test

If you notice any unusual symptoms, be sure to call us right away to set up an STD test. However, to avoid a false negative, we may ask you to wait 2-3 weeks after you were exposed before coming in for your test.

You should also get an STD test as part of your well-woman exam each year if you’re sexually active. If you’ve recently had unprotected sex, you should get tested as soon as possible. An STD test either gives you the relief of knowing that you’re healthy or lets you begin treatment as soon as possible.

STDs are common

Although it’s normal to feel embarrassed or disappointed when you find out that you have an STD, you’re far from alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least one in every five people in the United States has a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

The difference between an STI and an STD is that you can have an STI and not know it. The infection is in your body but hasn’t yet produced symptoms. An STD is an STI that’s begun producing symptoms.

All STDs are treatable or manageable

A few bacterial STDs, such as syphilis and gonorrhea, are cured with a course of antibiotics. Some viral STDs, such as herpes and HIV, can’t be cured, but they can be managed. Antiviral drugs can keep symptoms at bay and also prevent recurrence or spreading.

The sooner you know that you have an STD, the sooner you can get relief from symptoms or prevent them from occurring in the first place. An STD test gives you knowledge and control over your sexual health.

No matter what your STD results are, continue to practice safer sex to take care of yourself and your partner. Always use condoms if you’re with a new partner or have multiple partners. Get tested regularly for STDs, too.

Take charge of your sexual health by getting the answers you need with STD testing today. Contact us by phoning our office in Silver Spring, Maryland, or using our online form.

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