Have I Been Tested for That? A Checklist for STD Testing
Depending on where you go, your first STD testing experience can be super awkward. You may not know what questions to ask, if you’re allowed to ask questions, or what any of your doctor’s answers mean. At Statcare, that’s not the kind of care we believe in. We want all of our patients to walk away feeling heard and comforted during their appointments— especially with the STD testing process.
Whether you’ve already received your test results but still feel confused, or you want to be prepared for your next STD testing appointment, we’ve got answers for you. Find out what most people wanted to ask during their doctor’s visit but didn’t, as well as other helpful information they wish they’d had about the testing experience.
How Long Are STD Testing Results Good For?
Realistically, your STD testing results are only accurate up until you engage with a new sexual partner. This also applies if you sleep with a previous partner who has slept with a new partner since your last test. Each new partner you introduce into your sex life can affect your sexual status.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but with “steep and sustained” increases in STDs lately, it’s important to know how easily the status of your sexual health can change. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to keep yourself safe and healthy.
Did I Get Tested for Every STD?
The short answer is probably not. If you’re being seen for a regular physical, your doctor will most likely not order any STD testing. If you make an appointment specifically for STD testing, it’s likely that your doctor will order blood tests for common STDs, but not everything. For example, your doctor will most likely not test for herpes unless you specifically ask to be tested for them. Also, if your doctor isn’t familiar with the various tests for herpes, a test may get ordered that is not useful for detecting new infections at all. Getting the right test for the STD can be a challenge but the more you know, the better you will be able to negotiate this maze.
Be your own biggest advocate during STD testing so that you get the most comprehensive and accurate results. Ask your doctor what they’re testing you for and why. If you have a concern that they’re not addressing, tell them you want additional testing. And be specific. Especially whether your concern is a new infection or a pre-existing one. The only way you’re going to get clear answers is if you ask for them.
When Should I Get Tested Again for STDs?
As we mentioned before, you can assume your results are accurate and up-to-date as long as you haven’t engaged with any new partners and your partners haven’t engaged with anyone new before sleeping with you. If both of those are true, you most likely don’t have to worry about coming in for new STD testing.
There are some exceptions to remember, though. For example, if you think you’ve come into contact with gonorrhea, get tested within 1 to 5 days. Similarly, if you think you’ve been exposed to chlamydia, visit an STD testing center between 2-6 days. With both chlamydia and gonorrhea, you should plan to get retested two weeks after your first test to be sure of your results. It can take up to two weeks after exposure for both to show up on an STD test.
Then, there are some STDs (example HIV, Hepatitis C) where your initial tests may be negative but you are still required to have repeat testing done after a couple of months. Only when the second set of STD test results come back as being negative that it can be confidently determined that you are no longer at risk for that disease anymore.
What Are the Most Common STDs Doctors Test For?
Most often, your doctor will test for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. They will test for anything additional that you request, but it’s up to you to ask. Don’t assume that your doctor is going to test for every STD, especially if you’re not at a center that does regular STD testing. A simple example is HPV Testing in men. HPV in men is quite common, yet testing for HPV is not on most doctors lists of STDs to test patients for.
Can a Regular Blood Test Cover STD Testing?
No. Your blood tests will only show results for the things your doctor requests. Typically, regular blood tests check how your organs are doing such as your liver or your kidney. Don’t rely on regular labs to tell you whether or not you have an STD. STDs are specific diseases and one has to get special tests to detect these infections. Take the time to visit a certified STD testing center, like Statcare, to get proper testing and reliable and accurate results. Plus, walking into a regular urgent care facility helps alleviate any embarrassment you might feel by visiting a center that only tests for STDs and pregnancy.
Why Won’t Doctors Test for Everything During STD Testing?
Not all doctors are trained or qualified to do extensive STD testing. Whether they lack the experience or the equipment, many doctors are limited by their resources when it comes to administering STD testing.
Additionally, mail-in STD testing kits taken at home can be particularly unreliable for patients. The best option you have to get comprehensive results is to visit a Statcare location, where our doctors are able to screen for any STD using blood tests, urine tests, and swab tests.
What If I Don’t Understand My Results?
It’s important to ask as many questions as you have about your results and don’t worry about the time it takes. If this isn’t the direction that your doctor gives you when you go in for STD testing, use a different doctor. This is your health and you need to be able to fully understand it. At Statcare, our doctors are trained to give our patients thorough, helpful answers. We don’t want you to walk out of our locations feeling like your questions have been unanswered.
Will My Doctor Share My STD Testing Results?
At Statcare, STD testing is completely confidential. Your test results are for your eyes only. Of course, if you’d like to bring a friend or your partner with you for support, they are welcome. But we won’t share anything without your permission.
At Statcare, all our patients are sent email instructions on how to access their STD results through the Healow App that can be downloaded from the App Store. This avoids having to call and ask strangers to look at test results that are very personal, to begin with. Statcare’s medical providers can be contacted through the Healow app if you have questions about your test results. Our doctors are available to return your requests for a call all seven days a week.
We encourage all of our patients to share their status with their sexual partners so that everyone remains healthy and safe, but they won’t hear anything from us — even if they also choose to get STD testing at our location, too.
Most doctors honor this same commitment to confidentiality. But with mail-in STD testing kits, you’re at a much higher risk of someone else seeing your results. If you’re worried about privacy, come down to one of our locations. There is no place more secure or helpful.
Should I Always Get Tested for Every STD?
The only way to ensure your health is to be tested for every STD, every time you get tested. However, we understand that it’s not always possible for everyone. Some people might not be able to afford the extra tests, or they may not want to go through the whole process every time. We get it. At minimum, you should get tested for every STD you might have been exposed to every time you come in for STD testing. That means knowing your partner’s status and keeping open communication so that you both stay safe.
We realize you may have more questions, and we are happy to answer as many as you have. To be as prepared as possible for your next STD testing appointment, here are the top things to remember.
- Tell your doctor exactly which STDs you’d like to be tested for, if you have a particular concern.
- Tell your doctor if your concern is a recent exposure.
- Plan to be tested twice if you think you’ve been exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia — once within a few days of exposure and again two weeks later.
- Ask your doctor all the questions you may have, including your treatment options when you get your results.
- Talk to your partner about which STDs you may have been exposed to before your STD testing appointment.
- Use a doctor and a testing center that you trust — your health depends on it!
Statcare also offers a number of other services for our patients. Our urgent care locations are staffed by qualified doctors ready to administer physicals, fix broken bones, treat burns and so many more health concerns. If you’d rather take an appointment from your home, we also offer telemedicine services where doctors can diagnose, treat and write your prescription all online. See the difference Statcare can make by visiting one of our five convenient locations!