STD testing typically uses blood tests to look for pathogens in the bloodstream. Sometimes other types of testing can be performed, including urinalysis or biopsies, procedures used to obtain small samples of abnormal tissue that can develop as a result of STDs. Visual examination of the genitals or mouth sores can also help identify the presence of some types of STDs.
STD screening should be performed on a regular basis for all sexually-active adults. The U.S. Department of Health recommends annual STD testing for most types of diseases, with more frequent screening recommended for those with multiple sex partners, those who engage regularly in unprotected sex and other people with increased risks for STDs. Pregnant women should also be screened to ensure their unborn children remain healthy during pregnancy and delivery.
STDs can cause different symptoms depending on the type of infection, the area that’s infected, the extent and stage of the infection, and other factors. Some of the most common symptoms include:
In their early stages, STDs may cause very few or no noticeable symptoms. Having regular screening not only helps ensure patients receive the most effective care early in the disease process, but also helps prevent transmission of the disease to others.
Today, many STDs can be cured with medication, including antibiotics and other medicines taken orally, applied topically or used as vaginal suppositories. Some infections like HIV and herpes cannot be cured but their symptoms can be managed.
*Individual results may vary