Importance of Getting Tested for STDs
STDs are often asymptomatic so you may not know you have one. This means you can inadvertently pass the infection along to your partner(s). A confidential STD test means you can get treated and stop the spread of the infection in its tracks. STDs are either viral or bacterial infections and most are easily treated with medication. At Confilabs, we test for both viral and bacterial STDs.
Bacterial STD Infections
You may be familiar with bacterial conditions likes strep throat, which your doctor treats with antibiotics. Bacterial STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
Many people with chlamydia do not experience symptoms, but the illness can still be spread. When symptoms are present, they include genital pain and discharge from the penis or vagina.
Frequently, people with gonorrhea are asymptomatic, however, the illness can still be passed during sexual contact. Should symptoms occur, they include painful urination and discharge from the penis or vagina. Men may experience testicular pain and women may have pain in the lower abdomen.
One of the most commonly spread STDs, trichomoniasis causes smelly vaginal discharge, genital itching, and painful urination in women. Men typically do not experience symptoms. If a pregnant woman has trichomoniasis she may be at greater risk for premature delivery.
Although rare, syphilis is an easily treated STD if caught early. It develops in stages. The first stage involves a painless sore in the genital or rectal area or the mouth. After the sore heals, the second stage is marked by the appearance of a rash. After the rash fades, the infected person may experience no additional symptoms for years, when the third stage presents itself and may result in brain or nerve damage, as well as heart problems or vision loss. Fortunately, syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.
Viral STD Infections
Commonly known viruses include things like the flu and the common cold. The organisms are more complex than bacteria and thus harder to eradicate from the body, though more antiviral medications are available than ever before. Viral STDs include herpes 1 and 2, HIV, and hepatitis A, B, and C, and syphilis.
Herpes 1 (HSV 1) is usually contracted in childhood, rather than through sexual contact, and causes sores around the mouth, often called “cold sores.” The sores come and go as HSV 1 recurs at a different frequency in each person. Less often, HSV 1 can be present in the genital area. In those cases, it’s often asymptomatic. When symptoms to appear, it takes the form of sores similar to those around the mouth.
Unlike HSV 1, HSV 2 is primarily spread through sexual contact. Infected people frequently experience no symptoms. Symptoms, when they occur, include genital ulcers, fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. HSV 2 tends to recur less frequently over time, however, it can still be spread even when in remission.
HIV is the precursor to AIDS. Many people infected with HIV will not have symptoms, however, it’s possible for people to experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after infection. Once HIV progresses to AIDS, those infected experience a broad range of symptoms and suffer a depressed immune system. Although no cure exists, a strict regimen of anti-retroviral medication can manage the disease for an extended period of time.
Hepatitis A is typically spread through contaminated food or water, but can also be spread by coming into contact with someone who is infected. It’s a rare condition whose symptoms include fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and fever. Typically hepatitis A clears up on its own over a few months.
Hepatitis B is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood of the fluids exchanged during sex. Some people don’t present any symptoms, but when present, those symptoms include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain, and dark urine. While it usually clears up on its own, in chronic cases, liver damage can occur.
Hepatitis C is also spread through contact with contaminated blood or other bodily fluids and can be passed via dirty tattoo needles or other similar instruments. Frequently, those infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms. When present, symptoms include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the eyes and skin. Hepatitis C is treated with antiviral medications and new medications have had some success in completely eradicating the illness.
Be positive you’re negative. Protect your privacy and your partner with an anonymous STD test.