- Posted March 6, 2013 by
The Different Types of STD Tests and Their Accuracy
Seeing a doctor is rarely a pleasant experience, and there can be no more uncomfortable reason for seeing medical attention than an STD test. Even in this day and age, when everybody knows that getting tested is the responsible thing to do, it's still a little intimidating. But it's incredibly important to get an accurate screening for STDs as frequently as every six months if you are active with multiple partners. Many STDs can infect you months before you experience anything abnormal. The type of test you need depends on your age and sexual history, and also any symptoms you are experiencing.
1. Physical Exams
A doctor or gynecologist can notice signs of STDs during a routine physical exam or pap smear. During this time, they will usually ask you questions about your recent sexual activity, and it's important to be honest. STD testing is not automatically included in most physical exams - you have to request it, unless you tell the doctor you haven't been using protection. Physical exams alone are not the most effective way to check for STDs. Usually if there are growths or abnormalities inside or around the genitals, you already know about it, and an exam is not helpful for finding evidence of an STD that still lies dormant.
2. Taking Swabs
Swabbing the inside of the genitals or the mouth is an effective way to diagnose several different STDs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia. The cotton is examined under a microscope, sometimes before the patient even leaves the doctor's office. They're looking for antigens, which are cells that combat pathogens in the body - evidence that a disease is present. However, the body doesn't build up antigens right away, and it can be very difficult to detect a disease that has recently transmitted. This problem with accuracy is one of the main reasons it's suggested that you get tested for STDs fairly frequently.
3. Blood and Urine Tests
Urine can usually be used as an alternative to swabbing when it comes to detecting gonorrhea and chlamydia, as well as other STDs. But the most serious STDs are usually diagnosed through blood testing. HIV, herpes, Hepatitis B, and syphilis are all confirmed through the blood, even if there are visible symptoms. Of course, most of the time, there are not, which means patients are at risk for infecting others with these serious diseases if they don't get tested. Blood tests are also the most accurate way to test for STDs, with a 99.4 percent accuracy. Since the worst days of the AIDS epidemic, the rise in STD testing has done an incredible job in changing how we diagnose, treat, and even eliminate STDs. Still, the disease rates can be staggering. One in four adults in the United States is infected with herpes, which only goes to show how difficult it is to detect a disease that may lie dormant for months before the patient shows any sign. It's more important now than ever to use protection, but if you haven't been, or you have any reason to suspect something might be wrong, getting tested is your only option. It might not be fun, but your doctor will respect you for it and your sexual partners will thank you. Submitted by : www.knowledgeofmedicine.com