STD testing facts and misconceptions
Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is necessary to ensure good sexual health. Knowing the facts is important to get tested with confidence and peace of mind.
Despite all the health benefits of getting tested, there are many misconceptions and myths that prevent people from getting checked for STDs. We found the most common and tried to debunk them one by one.
“It’s embarrassing to get an STD test”
It’s not embarrassing to get an STD test since it can be done discreetly. Taking care of your physical health is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a responsible decision and one that could mean the difference between a clean bill of health and severe illnesses.
“STD tests are reported”
STD tests are reported simply for data and statistics. Your profile and personal information are still kept confidential. While it’s true that you have to be present to complete STD tests, it’s a completely private process.
Doctors will never share your results (or why you even came in for a visit) with anyone. When all your results from the lab are available, you’ll get notifications privately.
“STD tests are painful”
STD tests aren’t painful. In some cases, a simple swab on the inside of your cheek is all your doctor will need to test you for STDs.
Other times, a doctor will order a lab test that does involve drawing blood samples, but this process isn’t typically painful.
Some STDs require a urine test. Tests are often quick, mostly painless, and always done professionally.
“STD tests always lead to bad news”
STD tests don’t always lead to bad news. Although 50% of sexually active people will contract an STD by the time they turn 25, that still leaves 50% of sexually active people who haven’t yet contracted one.
More importantly, though, there are ways to treat and manage almost all STDs so even if you test positive, your doctor will help you through your treatment options.
“STDs go away on their own”
STDs don’t go away on their own. All STDs require treatment of some kind else they will progress. You can only know the best treatment plan with proper STD testing and diagnosis.
People can carry some of the most common STDs without seeing a single symptom. Infections like HPV, herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can be present in your body for weeks (even years) before you see any symptoms.
“I’ll just wait for my partner to get tested”
You can’t just wait for your partner to get tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other STDS. This is a dangerous game that too many people play. One person’s STD testing results don’t necessarily match their sex partners. You should always want to take responsibility for your own sexual health and take an STD test for yourself.
“STDs are not common anymore”
STDs are common and are still a huge public health concern. Gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are all at record highs. Even monogamous couples and pregnant women can get them. Even more alarming, certain strains of gonorrhea are now resistant to treatment.
“STD testing near me is too expensive”
If STD testing near you is too expensive, there are urgent care centers, like Nao Medical in NYC, that offer tests at an affordable price. Find something less costly, but still as accurate as possible.
“My primary doctor needs to administer my STD test”
Your primary doctor doesn’t need to administer your STD test. You can get tested by any doctor you prefer. A majority of our patients prefer to get tested at urgent care facilities rather than their regular doctors for the sake of privacy and expertise in this fast-changing environment.
“STD tests are not accurate”
STD tests are 99% accurate if you get them from reliable healthcare facilities. If you’re taking tests through an online service, it’s very likely that the results you’re getting are inaccurate. The companies that provide cheap, quick results rarely use accurate laboratories. The same is true about STD home testing kits.
“My doctor would tell me about any STDs I have”
Your doctor wouldn’t tell you about any STDs you have. Some people assume that if they’ve done lab tests in the past, they’ve been tested for STDs. It’s unfortunately a totally false assumption.
For lab tests, your doctor must specifically tell the lab to test for STDs in order to get accurate results. Don’t rely on a generic blood test to tell you what your STD status is. Ask for the specific STDs you’d like to be tested for, or ask your doctor for a full screening.
“Lesbian STD is not possible”
Lesbian STD is possible. We recommend any sexually active person get regular STD checks in order to stay informed about their health. STDs can be spread from various types of contact including toys and swapping of body fluids, not just through vaginal penetration.
If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community and have specific questions regarding STDs, doctors would be more than happy to offer you any information you need regarding risk factors, tests, and treatments.
“Condoms can prevent STDs”
Condoms can prevent STDs if used correctly. Consistently using protection during sex is the first step in being responsible for your health and the health of others. Protection is the best way to make sure that you don’t end up in the 50% of people diagnosed with an STD.
However, any STDs spread from skin-to-skin contact or contact with body fluids like saliva, If you don’t use the proper protection every time you have sex, you still need to make a habit of getting tested.
The main theme in every single one of these common misconceptions — the theme we want to drive home — is that getting tested for STDs is important, convenient and most of all, not something to be ashamed of. Keeping yourself and your partners safe and protected is something to be proud of.