There are an estimated 20 million cases of sexually transmitted infections from just eight viruses and bacteria that are diagnosed every year in the U.S. — but that’s 20 million reasons to head to a health clinic for women to get tested.
Why get tested? Getting tested is a quick and easy way to ensure your overall and reproductive health. Many sexually transmitted diseases have little to no symptoms, and can often be mistaken for something else. Some women may be scared to get tested or believe there is a stigma to getting tested; maybe they believe they will be judged by their peers.
Luckily, there are std testing centers that offer confidential std testing. These testing centers can often be found within urgent care centers or the common health clinic for women.
How to get tested: First the individual must ask for an std test in order to be tested. If they are there for an annual physical or at an OBGYN office, the nurse practitioner may ask if they would like to get tested.
Once you have asked your doctor for a test, they will need to first figure out what types of symptoms — if any — you are having so they can determine which type of test is needed. There is no one overall test to determine which std an individual might have.
The doctor will first ask how many partners you have had and how sexually active you are. Next they will ask what form of birth control you use. Note that some forms of birth control, such as condoms, will prevent certain types of stds, while others do not.
It may be difficult to determine from asking questions what std you may have, as many go without symptoms for a long time. Less than 40% of sexually active young women are screened for chlamydia mostly because this disease shows little to no symptoms.
How the test is conducted: There are a number of ways to be tested once the doctor has narrowed down possibilities. First would be a physical exam where your doctor will examine you for any visible signs. A second option would be a blood sample. A third option is a urine sample. A final option would be a tissue or saliva sample.
Where to get tested:
Many women are often unaware that they should be getting tested once a year. There is always a reason to get tested, whether it is because a women has switched partners recently, or there is reason for concern. One of the easiest ways to get same day std testing is through a walk in health clinic.
Walk in health clinics are becoming more and more commonplace as health care is more attainable to those who previously might not have been able to afford it. These days, there are nearly 6,800 urgent care facilities in the country, and that number is climbing at a rapid rate.
Look for a local health clinic for women, as they often have doctors who specialize in reproductive and women’s health and will be able to answer any initial questions about stds you might have. They can also refer you to a specialist if need be.