Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported STDs in the U.S. and is a bacterial infection usually spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
This test discreetly screens for HSV 1 and 2, commonly known as herpes.
Chlamydia is one of the most commonly reported STIs in the U.S. and is a bacterial infection usually spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
This test screens for syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection.
This test screens for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibodies (HIV-1 and HIV-2) and HIV antigen.
Trichomoniasis (Trich) Test
Trichomoniasis is a common STI caused by a parasite and spreads through sexual fluids like semen and vaginal discharge.
Identify high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) and take proactive steps to prevent cervical cancer and other related conditions.
Basic STD panel test
Discover your sexual health status with a comprehensive test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV-1 and HIV-2.
Expanded STD panel test
Gain peace of mind with an extensive test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, trichomoniasis, syphilis, HIV-1 and HIV-2.
Hepatitis B Test
This test measures the hepatitis B surface antibody to determine immunity due to previous infection or vaccination.
Hepatitis C Test
This test checks for HCV antibodies in the blood.
What is STD testing?
STD tests are used to diagnose particular sexually transmitted diseases (also referred to as sexually transmitted infections, or STIs) as part of a normal health screening.
If you believe you have an STI, or if you are at risk of contracting one, STD testing is important for the detection and treatment of infections prior to developing complications or spreading the infection to other people.
How to get an STD test
STD testing is a service offered by healthcare clinics, and by private request.
According to Planned Parenthood, you can get an STD test at your doctor's office, a community health clinic, or your city or county health department.
You can also purchase an STD test through partner labs on Solv.
STD testing is also available without an appointment at some walk-in clinics, urgent care centers, and walk-in labs (though you may want to call ahead to confirm whether your local locations offer this).
Planned Parenthood adds that STD testing may be free or covered by your health insurance. STI tests usually cost anywhere between $0 and $250 if you are paying out of pocket. The cost will vary depending on your location and the type of test.
Types of STD tests
Chlamydia is an STD caused a bacterial infection that is spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. According to the CDC, it is the most common STD in the United States, and can lead to complications like infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated. Many chlamydia infections occur without symptoms, so testing is important if you are sexually active with multiple or new partners. Testing involves either a urine sample (most common) or a swab of the infected area (genitals, throat, or rectum).
Gonorrhea is a common STD caused by a bacteria and spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. Many people experience a pus-like discharge from their vagina or penis, however some people don't experience symptoms at all. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause other health complications, like pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility, per the CDC. Testing for gonorrhea involves a urine sample (most common) or a swab of the inside of the vagina or penis.
Syphilis is a common STD that is caused by a bacteria and spread by sexual contact with an infected partner. A syphilis infection usually causes painless wounds on the genitals (called chancre), which can go unnoticed. The CDC states that if left untreated, syphilis can become a chronic condition and cause serious health complications. Getting tested for syphilis involves either a blood test (most common) or a swab of any visible chancres.
Genital herpes is a common STD that is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2, and according to the CDC, it is considered a common STD. Herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, and can cause sores and blisters on the genitals. Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but there are medications that can help with symptoms. Testing involves either a swab of visible blisters (most common), or a blood test.
Hepatitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the liver. There are several causes of hepatitis, however, certain viruses cause the majority of cases, according to the World Health Organization. Hepatitis can lead to complications with the liver and other organs if left untreated. Testing for hepatitis involves a blood sample, which can be done with a fingerstick or a venipuncture procedure.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an STD that weakens the immune system and can lead to AIDS, says the CDC. Getting tested for HIV involves a blood sample that is obtained through a fingerstick or a venipuncture procedure.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV (human papillomavirus) is an STD that---per the CDC---is extremely common, and is the most common cause of genital warts. Some specific strains of HPV can cause certain cancers (cervical cancer, penile cancer, rectal cancer, and others). HPV testing involves a swab of the infected area.
Trichomoniasis ("trich") is a common STD that is caused by a parasite, and spread through sexual contact with an infected person. If left untreated, the CDC says trichomoniasis can lead to other health complications like bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or infertility. Getting tested for trichomoniasis involves a urine sample (most common) or a swab of the inside of the vaginia or penis.
Who should get an STD test?
You should consider getting an STD test if you think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or you are experiencing symptoms of an STI. You may also need an STD test if you are at high risk for having an infection, reports the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
People at high risk for STIs, according to the NLM, are:
- women under the age of 25 who are sexually active; women in this age group should be tested every year for gonorrhea and chlamydia
- women aged 25 years and older who have new or multiple sex partners
- women aged 25 years and older who have a partner who has been diagnosed with an STI
- women 21 and older should get regular pap smears to check for cell abnormalities in the cervix
- women who are pregnant; during pregnancy, women should be tested for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis B, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C
- men and women who are sexually active and who have unprotected sex with people with whom they are not in a monogamous relationship
- people who have sex without using barrier methods of protection, such as condoms
- men who have sex with men; men in this group should be tested every year for hiv, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
- people who have hiv. the NLM recommends that people with HIV undergo regular STD testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and chlamydia
- people who use injectable drugs with shared or unsterile needles; the NLM suggests this group should be tested regularly for HIV
What to expect with an STD test
During an STD test, your doctor will collect a sample of your blood, urine, or fluids from the infection site, says the NLM. Your doctor may also perform a physical examination to check for signs of STIs such as warts, rashes, sores, and irritation.
Blood tests can check for the presence of STIs, including HIV, syphilis, and herpes. During a blood test, your doctor will use a tiny needle to draw a small sample of blood from your arm or hand. Your blood is collected into a test tube and sent to the lab for analysis.
Swab tests can be used to diagnose chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV). During a swab test, your doctor will use a swab to collect a sample of cells or fluids from the site of the infection, such as the penis, vagina, or cervix.
How to prepare for an STD test
In most cases, STD testing does not require any special preparation. The CDC notes that women are usually advised to avoid using douche products and vaginal creams, powders, or perfumes for 24 hours before getting a urine or swab test. Your doctor will also tell you whether you need to do anything to prepare for your STD test.
Where to get tested for STIs
STD testing is offered at most healthcare facilities, as well as community health centers. Some testing locations may include:
- urgent care clinics
- walk-in clinics
- primary care clinics
- gynecological clinics
- public health clinics
- Planned Parenthood
As well as some walk-in laboratory locations. If you are not under the care of a primary care physician, you can order STD testing yourself, through Solv.
Can I get an STD test at home?
While Solv does not offere at-home STD testing at this time, some at-home STD tests may be available from other providers. At-home tests may be available for STIs including hepatitis C, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. According to the NLM, these tests are available as urine, blood, and swab tests. Your doctor can talk to you in greater detail about the pros and cons of at-home STD testing.
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This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.
Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.
Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.
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