STD signs and symptoms - Testing and treating sexually transmitted diseases
How to Test for STDs at Home
Testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cumbersome. To make the process a little easier, you can test for STDs at home. One can now purchase home STD test kits online and send a sample to a laboratory for testing. Although the reliability of at-home test kits is quite variable, there are some good options available. In addition, you can begin by reviewing your symptoms for common STDs and considering whether you are at risk.
Testing Yourself with a Home STD Test Kit
Buy an at-home STD test kit.There are a growing number of at-home STD tests available that allow you to gather a sample from yourself and send it to the lab. At-home STD tests are available for many common STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV.You can order a test for a specific STD or order a test that checks for multiple STDs at one time. Look into the types of at-home tests that the company offers. Keep in mind that at-home STD tests are not nearly as reliable as going to your doctor or an STD testing clinic.
- Get online testing through Planned Parenthood. If you live in California, Idaho, Minnesota or Washington state, you can get an online STI test kit that allows you to test yourself and send your results to one of the Planned Parenthood labs. The kit comes with good instructions and a pre-paid envelope.
- Purchase the myLAB Box. This kit allows you to test for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and other genital issues. You can order a specific test for one STD or a combo pack, which tests for multiple types of STDs. You order the test online and it comes in the mail. The company says the results are returned in two to five days. For users that test positive, myLAB Box will set up a complimentary telemedicine appointment with a local doctor for a prescription.
- Use STDcheck.com. This online testing site is apparently one of the only at-home methods for testing hepatitis A.
- Use the OraQuick test for HIV. This test is FDA approved and allows you to get a sample from your gums and find out your results in twenty minutes. You can call a twenty-four seven hotline after receiving your results.
Perform the at-home test.Follow the instructions on your at-home test kit carefully and remember to mail back the sample as soon as possible so you can get your results quickly. Some kits will provide a pre-paid envelope to speed up the process.You will have to gather a sample from yourself using the kit. This may involve giving a urine sample, taking a blood prick sample or a swab from your gums.
- MyLab Box at home tests may involve urine samples, swabs or blood prick samples. The tests can be self-administered in five minutes. If tested positive, the company will connect you for with a local doctor a free telephone appointment and a prescription without leaving the house.
- If you are administering the OraQuick HIV test, you run a swab over your gums. The results come in twenty minutes.
Look into further testing.If you get a positive test back from your at-home test kit, you should look into the second test at a clinic to confirm the diagnosis. You should also speak to your doctor about treatment options.
- At home test have a high false-positive rate.
- if your test is negative, but you are experiencing abnormal symptoms, you should go see a medical practitioner.
Looking for Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Recognize the difficulty of identifying symptoms.The reality is that many STDs do not show signs or symptoms. Although you may experience no symptoms, you may still have an STD. You should always use a condom and regularly get tested for STDs.
Check for symptoms of chlamydia.A common STD is chlamydia, which involves a bacterial infection of the genital tract. In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms.A few weeks after exposure, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Pain during urination.
- Pain in your lower abdomen.
- Vaginal discharge (f you are female).
- Discharge from the penis (if you are male).
- Pain experienced during intercourse (if you are female).
- Bleeding between your periods (if you are female).
- Pain in your testicles (if you are male).
Look for any symptoms of Gonorrhea.Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that affect your anus, throat, mouth or eyes. Although symptoms may appear after ten days of exposure, it is also possible to be infected for months before any symptoms emerge.When your symptoms emerge, they may include the following:
- Thick, bloody or murky discharge from your genitals.
- Pain during urination.
- Bleeding between periods or heavy menstrual bleeding (if you are female)
- Painful or swollen testicles (if you are male)
- Pain from your bowel movements.
- An irritated anus.
Look into symptoms of trichomoniasis.This small, one-celled parasite can be spread during sexual intercourse. In women, it infects the vagina. In men, it impacts the urinary tract. After anywhere from five to twenty-eight days, you may experience any of the following symptoms:
- A vaginal discharge that looks clear, white, yellowish or greenish in color (for females).
- Discharge from your penis (for males).
- A very strong odor from the vagina (for females).
- Some itching or irritation of the vagina (for females).
- Any kind of pain during intercourse.
- Pain while taking a pee.
See if you have any symptoms of HIV infection.This STD infects the immunodeficiency virus. Symptoms will sometimes emerge after two to six weeks and may feel a bit like a common flu, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you should certainly see a doctor to get tested:
- A fever.
- A sore throat.
- Swollen lymph glands.
- Feelings of fatigue.
- More severe symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, fever, coughing and swollen lymph nodes.
- Persistent fatigue, night sweats, chills, chronic diarrhea, lots of headaches, and strange infections (if you have late-stage HIV).
Recognizing If You Are at Risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Assess the risk level of your current sexual behavior.If you are currently having unprotected sex, engaging in sexual relations with multiple partners, or have a history of STDs, you are more at risk of getting an STD. If you think you may have an STD, you should get yourself tested and, if necessary, undergo treatment.
- You should make sure you have completed treatment and regained your sexual health prior to having sex with anyone.
Recognize whether you are at risk.Young people ages, 15 and 24 are at greater risk for STDs, although they may have a low perception of this risk.
Take stock of your recreational drug use.If you are injecting recreational drugs or sharing needles, you will be at a greater risk of getting HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
- Two out of five people who got HIV from needles were completely unaware of their infection, according to the results of one study.
Evaluate whether alcohol is impeding your judgment.Drinking can seriously impact your judgment, which puts you at a higher risk for getting an STD. If you feel like your drinking is getting out of control and negatively impacting your judgment, you should consider lowering your consumption.
- Alcoholics anonymous is a support group for people who have experienced a drinking problem.
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