What Health Complications Clinicians Look for During STD Testing
If you are sexually active, STD testing is an excellent measure that you can take to ensure your health, protect your sexual partners, and obtain treatment for serious health issues early on. The risks associated with STDs vary greatly between viruses, which is why it is best to stay informed so that you understand your next steps if a health complication is detected during testing.
Even if you are not experiencing any known symptoms of an STD, infection, and transmission is still possible. Many sexually active individuals are unclear on the various diagnostic tests and screenings at their disposal. Depending on the STD you wish to test for, these tests can be administered via blood, urine, and swabs. Therefore, the more information you have, the better you can address individual health concerns.
If you are not sure which viruses clinicians look for during tests, or which test types correspond with each STD, our healthcare professionals at Advanced Urgent Care of Pasadena are here to provide the information you need. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about STD testing.
Various STD Tests and the Viruses They Detect
The acronym ‘HIV’ stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This serious illness is treatable, however, if it is not detected early on, it can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is a potentially fatal and irreversible condition. Depending on the type of STD test that is administered, it can take up to three months before the virus can be detected. Therefore, those who frequently change sexual partners should regularly visit a health center for STD testing.
To test for HIV, the healthcare worker will draw blood, which is then sent to a lab to be analyzed for antibodies and antigens. Antigens are typically detected in less time following exposure to the virus when compared to antibodies. For improved accuracy, it is best to search for a lab that tests for both indicators in the blood. At Advanced Urgent Care of Pasadena, the professionals working in our on-site lab can return your test on the same day it is administered.
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections that affects both men and women. Bacteria is passed through the genitalia, and can eventually lead to infertility if it is not treated promptly. Unfortunately, many cases of chlamydia go undetected for extended periods of time due to the often symptomless nature of this infection. After exposure, it normally takes approximately two weeks for the virus to become detectable. Thankfully, this infection is easily treatable with a short cycle of antibiotics. Chlamydia tests can be done in the form of urine or swabbing, and results are usually returned in just a few days.
Gonorrhea, like chlamydia, is a highly common bacterial infection that can be treated easily with early detection. This virus is also in some cases, entirely symptomless, which makes it difficult to flag without regular STD testing. Untreated cases can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, which can severely decrease the quality of one’s life. Gonorrhea tests are normally administered using a swab.
Syphilis is a venereal disease that manifests in the form of a sore, typically on the genital area. During intercourse, those who come into contact with this sore can easily develop the virus. Syphilis can be treated fairly easily, through an injectable antibiotic that will fight off the bacteria. However, prolonged cases of syphilis can lead to health consequences such as tumors, nervous system damage, and more.
To test for syphilis, the clinician will take a blood sample. After the sore appears on the genitals, it may take up to two weeks before the bacteria can be detected in the bloodstream. However, if you notice a symptom such as this, it is still best to consult with a physician immediately.
Like syphilis, the first sign of genital herpes is normally a cluster of sores that develop in the genital area. Unlike syphilis, however, these sores tend to be far more painful. Herpes can appear and become detectable through STD testing in as little as four days after exposure.
Unfortunately, herpes can not be cured through antibiotics, but the virus can be managed with ongoing medication for a better quality of life and a decreased risk of transmission. Sores will only appear during outbreaks, which means affected individuals can go for extended periods with no symptoms. Testing for genital herpes can be done by taking a swab of one of the sores during an outbreak, or through a blood test that looks for antibodies.
Ignoring the signs of a potential STD can lead to serious consequences that will affect you for the rest of your life. Take care of your health by staying informed through proper testing.
Advanced Urgent Care of Pasadena offers same-day STD testing in Pasadena. Contact us today to learn more!