Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Stacy Sampson, DO
My STD Testing Experience
Today I went to get tested for STDs!
You might be asking yourself, ‘Why would she get STD testing; she already knows she has an STD (I have genital herpes – you can read my story here) and has had other STDs (HPV, scabies and vaginitis); wouldn’t she have gotten tested then?’ The answer is: actually, I have not been tested for any other STD (that I can remember) – most often, practitioners test patients for STDs when they have related symptoms and one would have to ask to be tested for the gamut of other STDs should they think they are at risk.
Anyway, I’ve been doing a plethora of research in support of The STI Project and am learning more about STDs than I was previously aware.
I wasn’t aware Chlamydia is commonly missed (ie. there are rarely symptoms in women and when left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility – in both men and women, and a slew of other non-desirable outcomes). HIV often goes without signs for up to 10 years. Gonorrhea can also go unnoticed – especially in women (generally, there’s a noticeable discharge when gonorrhea occurs in men) – and can have similar negative effects when left untreated as with Chlamydia: pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, etc. Finally, Syphilis can also go without symptoms and can lead to more serious illnesses as well.
So, today I chose to try out STD testing (the aforementioned Chlamydia, HIV, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis) administered by the local county health department (they were free – yes, free!!!!!! Go! Get tested as fast as you can!!!!! It’s free!!!!).
My boyfriend came along and got tested as well for good measure – the nurses at the health department thought we were awesome – if they would have had ‘you’ve been good lollipops’ to hand out to us, I’m certain we would have gotten two of them. (Adult ‘you’ve been good lollipops’ were our pick of their condom assortment! YES! Free condoms!!!!)
And lucky you, I get to share my STD test experience here for everyone! (This is The STI Project, afterall!)
The outcome of this post should be nothing short of everyone running to their nearest health clinic screaming, ‘Test me, test me, I had no idea it was this easy!!!!’ 🙂
Are you wondering what is it like to get STD testing done?
Step One: Decide whether to schedule an appointment or go on a ‘walk-in’ day (wait is usually much longer, so patience is a virtue should you choose the latter) – I made an appointment as I have little patience 🙂
Step Two: Fill out some paperwork (this is the government we’re talking about) – HIV testing is the only test they can do completely anonymously (if they do rapid-tests onsite) where they do not require a name (they give you a number) or a lot of other information – this health department did their HIV tests on-site (which means results in 15 minutes), but I was also testing for 3 other STDs, so the paperwork was still required.
For those clinics that do not have rapid-tests, HIV tests will only be confidential. Confidential testing means you must fill out your name and birthday and answer questions about your sexual experiences. This DOES NOT mean they will call your parents or your partners and tell them your test results – test results are strictly confidential. The health department asks that you tell all future partners but does not make you retro-actively tell people, because, presumably, you wouldn’t have known you were positive for an STD until now.
Also, it is very important you answer the questionnaire with complete honesty – depending on the type of sexual activities in which you engage, they may do STD testing for additional types of STDs or they may test different areas of your body for STDs – chlamydia and gonorrhea can both be in the throat or anus, for example.
Lastly, the women my boyfriend and I met made no assumptions or judgments about the types of activities we enjoy – they simply share the risks and make sure you’re safe in all directions (your mind is whirling now, I’m sure). 🙂
Step Three: When your name gets called, a nurse takes you back, asks some additional questions, sometimes does a little preventative counseling and starts the tests by giving you a finger prick.
The finger prick begins the rapid blood test for HIV which is complete 15 minutes later.
Next, a traditional blood sample is taken from your arm for Syphilis testing. The Syphilis is sent to a lab and results are available 7 business days later along with your Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test results.
Step Four: Pee on your hand while attempting to pee into an impossibly small cup for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing (you do this in a private bathroom, so no one has to watch you wonder whether to pull up your pants with pee on your fingers or waddle over to the sink for washing – pants still at your ankles).
Important to note: the longer you hold your pee, the better – anything over not having urinated in an hour should be good.
The nurse said chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria flush out and are harder to detect when having urinated recently; however, after a longer duration of time, they come back again.
Unfortunately, peeing profusely will not make your STD go away. Dang it!
Step Five: Meet the nurse back in the testing room, get your HIV results, and your FREE CONDOMS!!!! YEY!!!
Who doesn’t love free condoms?!?!
I say, you might as well go get STD tested just for the free condoms!!! (I’ll say anything – obviously – to convince you STD testing is totally harmless and will make you feel much much better!)
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How was your experience similar or different? Did this post help calm some of your worries about your next test? Do you have some advice for those who are going in for STD testing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- Think You Might Have an STD?
- Information about STD Testing
- Observations from an STD Testing Counselor
- Excited about STD testing and want to find an STD testing center near you?
- STD Vaccines
- Want to learn more about the different types of STDs I’ve mentioned in this post?
- At-Home STD Testing
- Tested positive for an STD and need more resources?
- Normal Genital Spots Mistaken for an STD