Left untreated for long, common easily treatable STDs can have serious health effects including permanent damage to the reproductive system, brain damage, and death.
That’s why it is important to get tested regularly.
Do not wait for telltale STD symptoms to show up. Many STDs are asymptomatic in the beginning. As long as you are sexually active, get regular screening.
Also, get tested if you suspect you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.
Early diagnosis and treatment ensure you don’t spread the STD unknowingly and reduces the risk of complications.
Do I have to Ask My Doctor for an STD Test?
If you have an annual physical checkup, you may assume that you are safe since it includes STD screening.
However, STD testing is not always a part of a regular checkup. Even the regular gynecological exam may not include STD screening.
It is up to you to ask your doctor for STD test.
Many people find it awkward to talk to a doctor about their sexual health. Maybe you are afraid to talk about your sexual experiences or describe your symptoms.
But most doctors are respectful and understanding. They’ll discuss your health concerns without any judgment or moralizing.
Remember that your doctor probably deals with such cases all the time. They know it’s normal to get an STD.
How to Bring It Up
If you are going for your regular checkup, ask your doctor for STD test. If it doesn’t, ask them if they can include it.
Remember to ask which specific STDs they’ll test for. At the very least, you should get syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea tests at your yearly checkup.
If you are concerned that you got exposed to an STD, you can tell your doctor you want a general STD screening.
However, if you are experiencing some particular symptoms, it’s best to describe them to your doctor. It will help them narrow down the specific STDs to test for.
Go to a Different Clinic
If you are embarrassed about talking to your usual doctor, consider getting screened at a different hospital or clinic.
Most cities have low-cost or free STD testing clinics.
However, your doctor will probably still learn about your test because it will appear in your medical records.
Ultimately, it might be easier to go to your doctor.
Ask your doctor for a general STD screening or tell them that you are concerned about recent exposure.
Buy an Anonymous Online Test
If you really cannot face a doctor because you feel shy or you want anonymity, you still have options.
Online STD tests have become popular in the last few years. They provide an easy, affordable, and anonymous way to get an STD test.
There are different types.
There are those where you order the test online and then go to a local lab (anonymously) to provide a testing sample. Your results will then be posted in your online account in a couple of days.
STDCheck.com works like that.
If you don’t want to go to a lab, there are those that will send you a sampling kit. You take the sample yourself and send it back for testing.
myLAB Box is one of the best at-home STD testing services.
Another option is to do everything at home – taking a sample and testing.
You’ll need a complete at-home STD testing kit.
If you use any of these online STD tests and get a positive result, it’s important to see your doctor for confirmatory testing and treatment.
Which STDs Should I Test For?
If it’s an annual STD test, get a general screening that includes tests for the most common STDs. These include chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, genital herpes, and hepatitis B.
If you opt for an online STD test, companies like STDCheck and myLAB Box sell bundled STD tests.
If you are concerned about exposure to a specific STD, get a test for it if it’s negative, test for other possible STDs.
It’s also necessary to re-test for a specific STD after a few months just in case the first test was during the window period.
If you are at a high risk of STDs – e.g., you have multiple sexual partners, you are a sex worker, or you are gay or bisexual –get a general screening more frequently (every six months or every three months depending on your risk level).