We strongly believe in regular screening for sexually transmitted diseases. Just as a mammogram is part of the annual wellness exam, STD testing should be done for any woman who is sexually active. The reason for this is that symptoms of many STDs are minimal and are easily ignored. Some STDs have no early symptoms at all.
Which STDs should women be tested for?
The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone be tested for certain STDs, such as HIV, at least once while others should be part of every woman’s annual check-up. Additionally, any symptoms of genital infection should be immediately checked no matter how minor.
Women living in Virginia Beach, Norfolk or Chesapeake have access to testing conveniently located close to home. Testing is done confidentially and in the case of HIV testing, can be done anonymously. Whether or not a test comes back with a positive result, knowing whether one has an STD or not can be a relief. Treatment options are abundant even for more serious STDs such as HIV.
Confidential STD testing in Virginia Beach
STD testing is done quickly and easily using blood, urine or saliva depending on the particular disease being screened. There may be some confusion about whether or not STD screening is being done during the annual exam since blood and urine tests are usually part of the routine.
The best practice is to ask your doctor which STDs are being screened, if any, and to develop a health care plan that addresses your concerns and any recommendations suggested. These will be based on each patient’s individual sexual history and practices with the emphasis on prevention. There is no need to be hesitant about asking your physician about being tested. It is a common part of every woman’s health and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive health plan.
Types of sexually transmitted diseases
The range of STDs is broad spanning simple infections to life-threatening diseases. These include:
- HIV – human immunodeficiency virus
- AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (from untreated HIV)
- HPV – human papillomavirus (most common STD)
- Genital warts
- Genital herpes
Some of these diseases have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that could be confused with a simple yeast infection. At the first signs of anything unusual such as increased discharge, itching, painful urination, or any growth on the genitals, arrange for a fast and confidential test at any of our clinics serving the tri-city area of Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach. Many STDs can develop into more serious diseases if left untreated. Another important reason for early testing is to ensure that sexual diseases are not inadvertently given to one’s sexual partner.
STDs can be caused by bacteria or by viruses. In bacterial infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Trichomoniasis antibiotics are very effective particularly if the infection is in the early stages. Pregnant women are usually tested for STDs, particularly syphilis since these infections can be transmitted to the fetus. This should in no way be interpreted as a reflection on character; these tests are recommended for every pregnant woman.
Viral infections are treated with management goals rather than expecting eradication of the virus as they cannot be completely cured. HPA, HIV, herpes, and HPV are treated with antiviral drugs which act to boost the immune system. These drugs help to reduce the risk that the disease will be given to others and through improvement in the immune system, reduce symptoms caused by these viruses.
STD testing provides peace of mind
STDs are extremely common. In fact, there are millions of people carrying HIV that are unaware of their condition. Treatment of any illness is always easier at the early stages. STD testing is easy and confidential. If you are at all concerned that you may have been exposed to an STD, come into one of our conveniently located offices in Virginia Beach to be tested. Not knowing is very stressful and should the test be positive, there are many effective treatment options for all sexually transmitted diseases.