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An STD test is a medical examination for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Medical professionals use different types of STD tests to check whether their patients have different types of STDs. An STD test may involve a blood test, a urine test, swab tests, or, for women, a pelvic exam. Usually medical practitioners perform a range of these STD tests to provide a comprehensive picture of their patients’ sexual histories.
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD test from their local family planning clinic, a community health clinic, or primary care doctor. If you're worried about the cost of an STD test, check with your health insurance provider for information on co-payments. Many community health clinics provide these tests at little or no cost.
Some diseases are routinely tested for as part of STD testing. Others, like herpes, human papillomavirus, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) must be requested. In the case of HIV, patients must sign a waiver before getting the STD test.
Anyone who has vaginal, anal, or oral sex and has had more than one sexual partner should get a full range of STD tests to make sure they have not contracted any sexually transmitted diseases. People who have unprotected sex should get tested regularly. Some STDs do not have obvious symptoms. Getting an STD test is the only reliable way to determine sexual health. If you do have symptoms, like genital discharge, genital sores, frequent or painful urination, and flu-like symptoms, taking a test can confirm whether you have an STD.
The results of blood and urine STD tests are available within a few days. The results of pelvic tests take a bit longer, but are usually available in a week. Some doctors notify all patients of their results, while others will only notify patients if there is a disease detected. STD test results are always available to patients who request them though.