Dear Kim, 

I’ve recently become sexually active, and I’ve heard it’s important to get an STD test. I’m not sure which STD tests I should be getting. It seems like there’s a lot of different tests available. Help!

Thanks,
Overwhelmed by the Options

Dear Overwhelmed,

First off – congrats on taking charge of your sexual health by deciding to get tested. You’re right, it’s super important to be tested regularly if you’re having sex! The CDC recommends all sexually active adults be tested regularly, even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms.

There are quite a few different tests you can get. At HGLHC, an STD test typically includes gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitis B and C. We can also do certain other tests, like herpes, at the patient’s request.

Tests include a blood draw for HIV and syphilis, and a urine test and throat swab for chlamydia and gonorrhea. For folks who engage in anal sex as a “bottom” or have oral-anal sex (“rimming”), we also recommend an anal swab and PAP. 

Besides regular routine testing, there are also certain situations where you should get tested again. One is if you have symptoms, like a weird smell, unusual discharge, pain when peeing, or sores/bumps around the genitals. If something seems off but you aren’t sure if you should get it checked out, give us a call, or talk to your doctor ASAP.

Another reason to get tested is if you’ve had unprotected sex of any kind, because you could have been exposed to an STD that way. Just note that some STD’s may take a few days or weeks to show up on a test, so make sure when you call a provider, you tell them when the last time you had unprotected sex was so they can tell you when you should get tested.

Again, regular testing is really important for your health as well as your partners! Knowing your status can help you protect your partner, get treatment for yourself and partners if needed, and prevent passing STD’s to others. If you have any questions about what tests you should consider, or want to schedule a test, call us at 860-278-4163.

Be well, Be Yourself!
Kim Adamski
HIV Prevention Specialist