If you are sexually active, it is smart to regularly get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
There is no general test for all STDs, but your doctor can help you decide what tests are best for you to take.
Doctors recommend getting test annually for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you are a sexually active girl or woman under the age of 25; you’re a woman, 25 and older, and at risk for STD due to having sex with a new partner or multiple partners; or if you are a man who has sex with men.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea screening is usually done through a urine test or a swab inside the penis for men or cervix for women.
HIV, hepatitis and syphilis testing is recommended at least once in a person’s life by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors often recommend regular testing for those who are sexually active between the ages of 13 and 64.
Testing is highly recommended for those who have had more than one sexual partner since their last test; tested positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia; are a man who has sex with men; or is an intravenous drug user.
Testing for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis is done through a blood sample.
There is currently no way to screen for HPV, the human papillomavirus, for men. A diagnosis is reached by a physical inspection or a biopsy of a genital wart. The Food and Drug Administration recently recommended the use of the HPV vaccine in boys, beginning as early as 9, to protect against the virus, which is the most common STD. Women can be tested for HPV with a Pap smear exam.
Never assume that if you don’t have any symptoms you can’t be infected, in many cases there are no signs or symptoms.
If you test positive, speak with your doctor about treatment options.