Without a doubt, the best way to take charge of sexual health is to get STD testing. Even if one is not sexually active, it’s a smart move because sexually transmitted diseases can be spread even without sexual contact with another person. Sometimes, all it takes is a kiss or skin-to-skin contact.
It’s also best to know one’s sexual health status before beginning a new sexual relationship. Not only does this establish mutual trust, it additionally helps both parties feel safe when the relationship is monogamous.
It’s especially urgent to get tested if one is already sexually active, or if a person suspects they might have an STD. In these cases, the person shouldn’t delay.
When to Get STD Testing
There are plenty of good reasons to get tested for STDs, and lots of them have to do with personal health and safety as well as protecting the person’s partners, loved ones, friends, and family.
People should get tested before starting a new sexual relationship. This lets both parties know where they stand at the outset, and gives them peace of mind. They should also get tested if they have had sex without protection (such as a condom). People who have symptoms of STDs need to get tested right away (burning during urination, itching, sores on the genitals, and discharge are all common symptoms that should not be ignored, as STDs can damage the body if left untreated).
Where to Get Tested in Plano, TX
There are lots of options when it comes to where to get tested for STDs in places like Plano and Frisco, TX.
Local Health Clinic
A local health clinic can provide testing for STDs at a lower cost than most other options, as they charge based on the person’s income and family size. This is a great option for those who don’t have a primary care provider, or who don’t have insurance.
Health Care Provider
Some people have a designated health care provider whom they prefer to see for their medical needs. They can call up the office and ask for an appointment for STD testing – it’s as simple as that.
If the person doesn’t have a healthcare provider, they can always fall back on their family doctor. Talking with siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or some other family member to get the needed information can be a good way to get support, which can be essential when dealing with an STD and the possible accompanying anxiety, fears, and symptoms.
Guidance Counselor, Advisor, or School Nurse
If one doesn’t know where to go to get tested or is unsure about the process, they can turn to a trusted professional who will help them find the resources they need. Counselors can also help walk the person through how to talk to their family and tell other people in their life.
What to Expect When Getting Tested
Many clinics offer same-day, next-day, or walk-in appointments. For the latter, patients are seen on a first-come-first-served basis. This makes it convenient to go get tested whenever free time presents itself; however, wait times can be long depending on how busy the clinic is that day.
For most private doctors and health care providers, appointments usually need to be made at least a few weeks in advance for testing, although some may be able to squeeze in a patient earlier depending on what season it is and how many other patients they are seeing.
STD Tests: The Exam, Questions, and Procedures
There is no one test that covers all STDs. Different infections require different types of testing. For instance, for bacterial infections like chlamydia, the test center will have to do either a urinalysis (test a sample of urine) or a swab of the genitals. For some viruses, like HPV or HIV, a blood sample taken from the arm will have to be tested.
Before the doctor or health professional administers a test, however, they will interview the patient and pinpoint their symptoms, if they have any. Here are some topics for questions that a doctor may ask during the exam, before testing:
- Medical history questions
- Sexual history questions, including the last time the person had sex
- Number of sexual partners
- Symptoms, if any
- Drug use history, if applicable
These questions and the examination will help the health care provider decide what STD tests would be best for the person.
Here is a list of the types of tests that may be done:
- A swab from the inside of the mouth
- A swab from any sores or discharge
- A swab from the urethra (where urine is emitted), genitals, or anus
- A blood sample
- A urine sample
- An examination of the genital area and/or anus for physical signs of STDs
When to Expect the Test Results
Generally, samples from an STD test are sent to a lab, where they are analyzed. This usually takes a few days to a few weeks to complete. However, some tests offer same-day results, and the person will know the outcome the day of their visit.
If a person tests positive for an STD, the office or clinic will usually call or send a letter. Most will call and ask the person to come back to discuss their options and begin treatment.
Many clinics offer the service of partner notification. This is where the clinic calls any of the person’s sexual partners and informs them of their possible risk of infection without revealing the identity of the person with the STD.
Get Tested in Frisco, TX, and Get Peace of Mind
Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is often made out to be much more stressful than it really is. The truth of the matter is that testing is relatively simple if one knows where to go and what resources are available to them. If a person needs help finding this information, they can also ask a trusted professional or family member for assistance. In the end, the important thing is to get tested, and there are lots of options for doing so.