Why do I need STI testing?
If you’re sexually active, your gynecologist or nurse practitioner typically recommends STI testing. Even if you don’t have symptoms — which is common — you could still have a sexually transmitted infection. Getting tested for common STIs means you can get the treatment you need before the infection becomes a disease with irreversible consequences.
Additionally, if you’re at risk of infection because you’ve had unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners, don’t wait for your annual exam for STI testing. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can receive necessary medical treatment.
What’s included in STI testing?
Depending on your age, symptoms, and risk factors, your provider at FPA Women’s Health may recommend any of the following STI testing:
- Genital herpes
- Genital warts (Human papillomavirus, or HPV)
- Hepatitis B and C
It’s common for young women to get genital warts (HPV), chlamydia, and gonorrhea. While there’s no definitive test for HPV, a Pap smear can detect the type of abnormal cells that may lead to cervical cancer.
What are the symptoms of STIs?
Symptoms vary depending on which STI you have, but common signs of infection include:
- Sores or bumps on your genitals
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Itching or irritation around your genitals
- Flu-like symptoms
If you do experience STI symptoms, avoid having sex until you seek testing and treatment so you don’t spread the infection to others.
What is the treatment for STIs?
You can treat several common STIs with medications and antibiotics. If you test positive for chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea, antibiotics usually relieve your symptoms and cure the infection. Other STIs, including genital herpes, genital warts, and hepatitis B and C, has no cure, but treatment can reduce symptoms.
Genital warts, or HPV, are the result of a virus. While there’s no treatment for the virus itself, you can treat the outbreak and reduce uncomfortable symptoms with:
- Topical solutions
- Cryotherapy (freezing)
- Surgical excision
- Laser treatments
If you suspect you have an STI, or even if you don’t, it’s important to get tested regularly. Your experienced provider at FPA Women’s Health can recommend how often you should get tested, and for which STIs, depending on your age, risk factors, and lifestyle.
Call the office to schedule an exam that includes STI testing, or request the next available appointment through the convenient online booking tool.