The Lowdown on STI Testing: What You Need to Know
Did you know that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are shockingly common? Millions of cases are diagnosed every year, with young people and men who have sex with men being particularly at risk. And the scariest part? Many people don’t even know they have an STI because they don’t always have symptoms. In fact, up to 80% of people with the most common STI, chlamydia, have no symptoms at all. But here’s the good news: STI testing is available, and it’s an important step in protecting your sexual health. With early detection and treatment, you can prevent serious health problems down the road. So don’t wait – get tested today!
Who should get tested for STIs?
Everyone who is sexually active should get tested for STIs, regardless of their age, gender, or sexual orientation.
- STI testing, even for incurable infections, is life-saving and can reduce STI transmission.
- Early detection of STIs can make them easier to treat.
- Testing can prevent the spread of STIs from an infected person to their partners.
- Many people can have an STI without knowing it.
- Some untreated STIs can lead to severe health problems like cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease.
STI testing can vary depending on the type of infection, but common STIs that are tested for include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, and herpes. Some STIs, like HPV and hepatitis B and C, may require a different type of test.
How is STI testing done?
Curious about how STI testing works? There are several ways to get tested, including a blood test, urine test, or swab test. If you opt for a swab test, a healthcare provider will collect a sample of bodily fluids from your genital area or throat, depending on the type of STI being tested for. Here are a few interesting facts about STI testing:
- Blood tests can detect antibodies that your body produces to fight certain infections. This means that you might need to wait a few weeks after exposure before getting tested to allow your body time to produce these antibodies.
- Urine tests are often used to screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common STIs. These tests are painless and only require a small urine sample.
- Swab tests can be used to detect a range of infections, including HIV, herpes, and HPV. Depending on the type of test, a swab may be taken from the inside of your cheek, your throat, or your rectum.
So, whether you opt for a blood test, urine test, or swab test, getting tested for STIs is a quick and easy way to take control of your sexual health. Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider about the best testing options for you!
Where can you get tested for STIs?
You can get tested for STIs at your doctor’s office, local health clinic, or community health center. Some STI testing can also be done at home with a kit that you can order online or at a pharmacy.
- Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood clinics offer STI testing services, as well as education and resources about sexual health. You can use their website to find a clinic near you.
- Sexual Health Clinic: Many cities and provinces in Canada have sexual health clinics that provide STI testing and treatment, as well as education and counseling services. You can check with your local public health department to find a clinic near you.
- Canadian Association of Sexual Health (CASH): CASH is a non-profit organization that provides resources and information about sexual health, including a directory of sexual health clinics across Canada.
- Telemedicine: In some provinces, telemedicine services are available for STI testing and treatment. For example, in Ontario, you can use the Telehealth Ontario service to speak with a healthcare provider and get advice on STI testing and treatment.
How often should you get tested for STIs?
The frequency of STI testing depends on your sexual activity. If you’re sexually active with multiple partners or have a new sexual partner, you should get tested regularly. Your healthcare provider can recommend a testing schedule based on your individual needs.
What happens if you test positive for an STI?
If you test positive for an STI, don’t panic. Most STIs are treatable with antibiotics or antiviral medication. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for treatment and to notify your sexual partners so they can get tested and treated as well.
Microbix CT/NG/TV/MG Positive Swab
When it comes to STI testing, accuracy is crucial. Microbix CT/NG/TV/MG Positive Swab External Quality Controls come in. These controls are designed to simulate clinical specimens and help ensure that STI testing results are reliable and accurate.
These controls are formulated with inactivated cells that contain whole genome STI pathogens like Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Mycoplasma genitalium, as well as human fibroblast cells. The samples are then desiccated on a Copan FLOQSwab® to create unassayed, whole-workflow samples that can be used for quality control testing.
By using Microbix CT/NG/TV/MG Positive Swab External Quality Controls, laboratories can verify the accuracy of their STI testing methods and ensure that their results are consistent and reliable. This is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment of STIs, as well as for monitoring the effectiveness of STI prevention and control efforts.
Contact us to learn more about our FLOQ ® Swabs