Common Tests for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

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Sexually transmitted diseases are conditions spread through sexual contact. They may or not show symptoms. They can spread from one person to another through anal, oral or vaginal sex. Gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, chlamydia, HIV, and genital warts are the most common STDs. Abnormal vaginal discharge, pain when urinating, pelvic pain, warts, sores or rashes on your genitals, and painful penetrative sex are common symptoms of STDs. If you encounter such symptoms, seek STD testing Chapel Hill. You should get regular STD tests if you are sexually active and have multiple partners. STD testing helps detect conditions for early treatment.

Physical examination

Your doctor can combine physical examination and other tests to diagnose STIs like herpes and genital warts. Your provider looks for sores, bumps, and other sins around your genitals. If you have unusual signs, the provider can take samples from questionable areas for laboratory testing. Ensure you tell your doctor if you have any changes in your genitals. If you engage in anal sex, let the doctor know about any changes you might be having around your anus or rectum.

Blood and urine tests

Most sexually transmitted infections can be tested through urine and blood samples. Your doctor can recommend these tests to check for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV. Sometimes urine and blood tests are not as accurate as other tests. It can also take a month or longer for some STDs to be detected in your blood after exposure. For example, it may take several weeks or months for HIV to be diagnosed in a blood test after exposure.


Vaginal, cervical, or urethral swabs can help detect STIs. In women, doctors can use a cotton applicator to take vaginal and cervical swabs during pelvic exams. Urethra swabs can apply to men and women. It involves your doctor inserting a cotton applicator into the urethra. If you engage in anal sex, your provider can take a rectal swab to check for infectious organisms in the rectum. If your exposure to an STI is recent, the condition may not be detected.

Pap smears and HPV testing

A Pap smear does test for STIs. It tests for cervical cancer. Females with persistent HPV infections, particularly HPV 16 and 18, are at a high risk of having cervical cancer. You can develop anal cancer from HPV infections if you engage in anal sex. A normal Pap smear means no condition is detected. If you get an abnormal Pap test, your doctor can suggest HPV testing. An abnormal Pap test does not tell it you must get cervical or anal cancer. Most abnormal Pap tests resolve without treatment. If you test positive for HPV, it is not a must; you will have cervical cancer. Not all types of HPV can cause cervical cancer.

Sexually transmitted diseases are spread through sexual contact. Doctors can diagnose them through physical examination, swabs, blood and urine tests, Pap smears, and HPV testing. All STDs are curable except the ones resulting from a virus. Schedule an appointment at Carolina Urgent Care for STD testing for early treatment.