What procedure will a clinician follow in testing someone for STI’s?
It depends on the infection. When health care providers test for sexually transmitted infections, they usually test for a few different ones. To decide what to test for, providers examine their clients. They talk with them about their visible symptoms, other symptoms they may feel, and what kind of risks they may have taken.
Depending on what’s found during the examination and conversation, the health care provider may take samples of
- blood — to check for CMV (cytomegalovirus), hepatitis, herpes, HIV, or syphilis
- urine — to check for chlamydia and gonorrhea
- cells — to check for BV (bacterial vaginosis), chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV (human papilloma virus), molluscum contagiosum, or scabies
- fluid, secretions, or discharge — to check for BV, gonorrhea, herpes, HPV, pelvic inflammatory disease, syphilis, or trichomoniasis
- cells from the cervix for Pap tests to detect changes associated with certain types of HPV that can cause cancer
- saliva can be used to test for HIV
Recently, some health officials have called for similar tests on cells collected from the rectum if people have anal sex.
Most health care providers will not do a screening for sexually transmitted infections unless the client asks. So, don’t let embarrassment become a health risk. If you’re sexually active, you should ask to be screened for infections.
HIV tests and screening for sexually transmitted infections are available at many Planned Parenthood health centers, most health care providers, hospitals, and health clinics.