What is STD Testing: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

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What is STD Testing: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are on the rise, and health experts‌ are urging people⁢ to get tested so they can protect ‌themselves and others from the potentially devastating ⁢consequences of these infections. Knowing what to ⁤expect before and⁣ after an STD test can help make ⁢the ⁣process easier⁢ and less stressful. In this article, ‌we’ll provide an overview of what STD testing is, the benefits it offers, and what results to expect.

What is STD Testing?

STD testing involves the collection⁤ of cell samples from various body sites and the testing of those ‍samples for the presence ‌of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Depending on the type of infection,⁣ testing may ⁤include a variety of steps such ‍as:

Testing‌ with a blood ‍sample

A‍ blood sample can be used to test‍ for diseases such as HIV, syphilis, ⁤and gonorrhea.

Testing with a urine sample

A urine sample can be used to detect infections such ​as chlamydia ⁣and gonorrhea.

Testing⁤ with a‌ swab sample from the cervix, urethra, mouth, or anus

A swab sample can ⁤be used to ⁢detect infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Testing ​with a swab sample from the genital area or sores

A⁣ sample from any sores or ‌other areas⁢ of infection can be used to ⁣detect diseases‍ such as herpes and ⁤syphilis.

Benefits of STD Testing

Testing​ for STIs is one of the best ways to protect your health​ and the health of others. When it comes to STIs, the earlier​ you ⁣can detect them, the better‌ the outcome ⁣is‌ likely to be. Here are some of the benefits of STD testing:

  • Allows for early diagnosis ⁣and treatment

  • Reduces the risk of complications associated with⁢ STIs

  • Reduces the spread of STIs to‍ partners

  • Provides peace of mind and prevents stress and anxiety

  • Reduces the possibility⁣ of costs associated with long-term or permanent damage caused by untreated STIs

  • Provides patients with the opportunity to make informed decisions⁤ about their sexual⁤ health

Expected Results

It is important to‌ remember that the results of an STD test can take anywhere from a ​few days to a few weeks to be returned,‍ depending on the type⁣ of test, the⁢ laboratory used, and other factors. Here‌ are the most common types‍ of results you‌ can expect:

  • Negative: This means that the⁢ test was unable to detect any infections.

  • Positive: This means that the test detected an infection.

  • Inconclusive: This means that ‌the test was unable⁣ to provide a definitive diagnosis and further testing may be necessary.

It is important to remember that even if a test is negative, it does not necessarily mean that you‌ do not have an infection. If you are experiencing symptoms that suggest the presence of ​an STI or if you ⁢are at high risk‍ for developing an infection, additional testing may be recommended.

Taking Preventative Measures

In addition to getting tested, it is important to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of STIs. Here are some tips to follow to reduce your risk:

  • Always use condoms and dental dams during sexual activity.

  • Limit the number of‌ sexual partners you have.

  • Get vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis B and HPV.

  • Do not share needles or other drug paraphernalia.

  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs, as they⁢ can impair your judgment.


Getting tested for STIs is an important ⁤part⁢ of staying healthy. Taking preventative measures, such as practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners, can ⁣help⁤ reduce the risk of becoming infected. Knowing what to expect during and⁣ after testing can make the process less stressful‌ and more manageable. Recognizing the benefits of STD testing, including early​ diagnosis and treatment,⁤ can help ensure a ⁢long and healthy life.

Definition & Overview

Being sexually active does have its risks, especially if you have different partners. One of those risks is the possibility of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), such as gonorrhea, syphilis, or HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Some STDs have cures, but others don’t. Regardless of whether an STD can be cured or not, it’s imperative that it be detected while still in the early stages to prevent it from getting worse or spreading to other people.

STDs begin as infections, which is why some health professional would rather call them Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Like any other type of infection, there is a way to detect an STD infection while it is still in its early form.

STD testing refers to several different methods to detect an infection, such as blood tests, vaginal discharge tests, stool test, and laparoscopy. Each type of STD has a different method of detection.

Apart from the symptoms, STDs also affect the person in different ways, such as emotionally and socially. For instance, if the tests produce a positive result, the infected person is morally obligated to inform his or her sexual partners of the condition. This is so that they can also undergo STD testing and receive treatment if required. People with an STD can feel socially disgraced, which could lead to emotional difficulties.

Who Should Undergo & Expected Results

Those who are sexually active with different partners aren’t the only ones who should undergo STD testing. If you’ve been exposed to any of the following conditions, you should also consider having the test performed:

  • You were forced to have sexual intercourse
  • You are a man who had sex with another man/men
  • You have a new partner
  • You use intravenous drugs
  • You are at risk of an STD and are pregnant or intend to become pregnant

It’s important to remember that undergoing an STD test is not just to detect the disease and receive the right treatment, but also to prevent it from spreading. Additionally, some infections do not show any symptom, which is why many people with STD do not know that they were infected. Those who don’t know that they were infected can spread the disease unknowingly.

If the result of the test is positive, the doctor will recommend a treatment plan, even if the STD cannot be cured. In such cases, the treatment plan will include measures to prevent the disease from getting worse.

How Does the Procedure Work?

The method of STD testing will depend on the suspected disease. If you are displaying any symptoms of the disease, the doctor will decide which type of test you should undergo. If you are only concerned that you may have acquired an STD, but are not displaying any symptoms, then you will need to undergo several different tests. Here are some of the most common tests:

  • Gonorrhea & Chlamydia – urine test or swab inside the penis or vagina
  • HIV, hepatitis, syphilis – blood test, swab of genital sores if present
  • Genital Herpes – No tests currently available can produce accurate results, but the doctor will recommend a blood test or culture of blisters.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV test or Pap test

Some people may assume that they are going to be tested for STD if they undergo other types of tests. Unfortunately, this is not true. You will need to inform the doctor that you want an STD test. Blood exams, urine tests, or Pap tests are not designed to look for STDs specifically, unless they are part of an STD test.

You should also remember that it is imperative that you’re honest with your doctor or health care provider. Answer all of their questions truthfully so that they can decide which type of test you need. If you aren’t truthful with your answers, there is a chance that the STD will not be detected, which would give you a false sense of relief, and prevent you from receiving treatment.

Possible Complications and Risks

Every type of STD test is safe. Thus, they will not have any risks or complications. However, there is a chance for false-positive or false-negative results. If a test produces positive results, the doctor will recommend further tests to confirm those results before providing a treatment plan. You should also be aware that negative results might end up being false, especially if you provided false information to the doctor or health care provider.

Here are some of the areas where you should provide accurate information:

  • The level of sexual activity
  • If you have multiple partners
  • If you are taking any medications
  • The reasons why you suspect STD, especially if you suspect that you partner may have other sexual partners.
  • If you participate in anal sex

The reason why you need to provide accurate information is because not all STDs can be detected through certain tests. For example, if you participate in anal sex, the anal STD may not be detected through standard tests. If you fail to provide this information, you could be at risk of rectal cancer. If you inform your doctor that you engage in anal sex, the doctor will recommend an anal pap smear, which can detect rectal cancer.


  • Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Recommendations on the use of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine in males. MMWR. 2011;60:1705-1708.

  • American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Infectious Diseases. Policy Statement: HPV vaccine recommendations. Pediatrics. 2012. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3865.

  • Berman Bm Amini S. Condyloma acuminata. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 46.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years and Adults Aged 19 Years and Older – United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;62(Suppl1):1-19.

  • Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 11.



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