Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing
If you’ve had sexual contact with another person and notice any signs of an Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), talk to a doctor or nurse about getting tested. STI symptoms can come and go over time, but that doesn’t mean the STI is gone. It’s common for STI symptoms to be so mild that they don’t bother you, but you should still see a doctor or nurse if you notice anything that feels off.
Different STIs have different symptoms including:
- Sores or bumps on and around your genitals, thighs, or butt cheeks
- Weird discharge from your vagina or penis
- Burning when you pee and/or having to pee a lot
- Itching, pain, irritation and/or swelling in your penis, vagina, vulva, or anus
- Flu-like symptoms like fever, body aches, swollen glands, and feeling tired.
All of these symptoms can be caused by things that aren’t STIs (like pimples, UTIs, or yeast infections). So getting tested is the only way to know for sure what’s going on. Talk with your nurse or doctor about your symptoms, what kind of sex you’ve had (vaginal, anal, or oral), and whether you use condoms and/or dental dams. They’ll help you figure out what kinds of testing or treatment you may need.
It’s really important to get tested if you think you have an STI, because some STIs can cause serious health problems if you don’t treat them. Also, having an STI makes you more likely to get other STIs, like HIV. And it’s best to find out right away if you have an STI, so you can avoid giving it to other people.
The idea of getting tested may seem scary, but try to chill out. Most common STIs can be easily cured with medicine. And STIs that can’t be cured often have treatments to help you with symptoms and to lower your chances of giving the STI to anyone else. So the sooner you know you have an STI, the faster you can start taking care of yourself and your partner(s).