We have covered several topics related to STD’s this month: getting tested, safer sex, and some STD-related vaccines. However, sex means lots of things to different people, and it is very important that you (and your clinician) know your exposures and risks in determining what tests need to be done.
You need to share:
- How many partners (male, female, or both) you have had.
- All sexual activities you had with them.
- Whether or not protection was used.
- What previous screening you have done.
- Whether or not you are having any symptoms.
If you are sexually active, have been with more than one person, and were negative at your last screening or have never been tested, you should consider:
- Urine testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, if you are a male who has had vaginal sex, insertive anal sex or if you are a female who has had vaginal sex.
- A rectal swab for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, if you’ve had receptive anal sex.
- Blood testing for HIV and Syphilis.
- An examination to check out any bumps, sores, growths that have appeared since your last screening.
A word about oral sex – Risks and testing related to oral sex are somewhat sketchy. If you give oral sex, infections can occur in your mouth or throat, but may be hard to detect. In rare cases, you may also get infections when you receive oral sex. Testing is available for certain types of oral infections. Talk to your clinician about these risks and tests.
Other tests such as for hepatitis B and C, may be needed for some people, as well.
Once you are tested negative, consider a regular screening schedule every six months, or more often if you are concerned about exposures or symptoms. For more information, visit the GYT site and read the STD testing FAQ’s.
Please be aware that recommended tests done after you meet with your clinician OFTEN ARE NOT covered under health insurance benefits. Check out your coverage before your visit, and consider paying for these tests yourself if you are not covered.
At the end of the day, being well informed, using safer sex methods correctly, and getting screened appropriately will help keep you healthy, and that keeps your next partner healthy, and their next partner, and so on.
Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University