Most people associate sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The truth is that there are more than 15 different types of sexually transmitted infections.
These include genital herpes, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), bacterial vaginosis, Chlamydia and viral hepatitis among others. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are approximately 19.7 million new STI cases ever year in the United States.ever year in the United States.
Research also suggests that more than half of all people have an STD at one point or another in their lives. Among women, for example, research estimates that 80% of all women contract genital HPV by the age of 50.
These statistics signify the need for people to get more concerned with their status by going for STD testing. Unfortunately, many Americans are still in the dark when it comes to facts about STDs and STD testing. Here are myths on STD testing and their corresponding truths.
Myth 1: There Is No Need For An STD Test; After All, I Would Know If My Partner Or I had An STD.
Truth: STD testing is very important. People should go for testing immediately they notice symptoms such as sores around the genitals, discharge from the penis or vagina, itching or even a burning sensation when urinating.
Nevertheless, it is also important to note that some STDs do not have any symptoms. In fact, research suggests that a good number of people with STDs do not even know they have it.
It is, therefore, important for one to go for STD testing on a regular basis. This happens in the case after one engages in risky sexual behavior such as unprotected sex.
Myth 2: STD Testing Is Painful
Truth: There are different types of STD tests. Some of these are completely painless. These include;
- Urine tests – these are used to test for infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea. All you have to do is pee in a small container.
- Swab tests – These are also used to test for Chlamydia and gonorrhea. The doctor collects a sample of one’s vaginal, throat or anus fluid for testing.
- In the case of herpes, the doctor may obtain a sample of the fluid from the sore. On the other hand, doctors can diagnose other infections such as anal or genital warts by looking.
However, STD testing also involves some slightly painful tests such as;
- Blood tests – These are used for a broad range of infections including HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B & C. For these tests, the care provider takes a blood sample from the individual’s arm.
- Rapid Response Tests or Point of Care tests – Commonly used in HIV testing. The care provider simply pricks the person’s finger for a drop of blood. As the name implies, this is a quick test that lasts approximately 5 minutes.
Myth 3: The Doctor Will Automatically Test Me For Any STD When I Go For Any Other Physical Exam Or Pap Test.
Truth: For a care provider to test you for an STD, it is important for you to ask for it. Most people assume that when doctors do physicals or pap tests, they automatically get tested for STDs.
This is not the case. In fact, research has shown that less than a third of all physicians in the United States screen their patients for STDs.
Myth 4: Everyone Will Know Of My Status Once I Go For An STD Testing.
Truth: There is no denying that there is still a lot of stigma towards people with STDs. Luckily, there are legal regulations regarding the confidentiality of patients.
Some health care centers do not even ask for personal details of people who have gone in for STD testing. Parental permission is also not mandatory before STD testing although some states do have special regulations regarding the matter. Whatever the case is, maintaining patient’s confidentiality is a must.
Myth 5: If I Test Positive For An STD And Successfully Treat It, I Will Never Get An STD Again.
Truth: Timely STD testing can lead to timely treatment which ultimately prevents further spread as well as further complications. Nevertheless, successful treatment of an STD does not make one immune from future infections.
In fact, some STDs such as Herpes and HIV are incurable and last for the rest of a person’s life. Some ways to avoid getting infected again include having protected sex, engaging in less risky sexual behavior and reducing the number of people with whom you are sexually involved.