STDs are common (especially in New York) so they are something that everyone should have some basic knowledge about. Things like how to recognize them, how they are tested for, what puts you at risk and basic treatment information are all important. Having this information will allow you to better protect yourself against infection.
It is important to note that STD testing is not done as a routine part of an annual physical examination. However, you can easily request that you be tested for these diseases during your examination. Since a physical examination already includes blood testing, urine testing and visual inspection, adding STD testing will not take more than a few extra minutes. When you add this testing to your annual physical you can also have it covered under your insurance. Your doctor can help you to determine which STD tests should be done during your physical so make sure to be open and honest about your lifestyle and if you are noticing any odd symptoms.
- Your sexual practices, such as number of partners, your use of contraceptives, types of sexual activity and frequency of sexual activity.
- If you are having any symptoms your doctor will ask you to describe them.
- Whether or not you have ever had any past STDs.
- Whether your sexual partner, or partners, have a history of STDs.
- If you have any drug allergies.
- Women will be asked if they could be pregnant and when their last menstrual period was.
A physical examination is usually done to visually inspect the genitals and anus to look for signs like discharge, warts, rash or sores. With women, a pelvic examination may also be done because this will also allow the doctor to inspect the cervix for signs of infection or worsening of a disease.
Blood testing is common for the majority of STDs, including to test for HIV. This involves getting a small sample of blood by inserting a needle into a vein.
Urine testing can be done to test for certain STDs. You will need to provide a urine sample in a plastic cup.
Swabbing of lesions, the genitals and the anus can be done to get tissue, cell and discharge samples. If an STD is suspected to have infected the mouth a saliva sample may be obtained. This involves using a cotton swab and rubbing it over the area being tested.