Tuesday, March 21, 2023
STIs and Testing
How to Begin the Testing Path
We have all heard how testing is an important component of our Sexual Health, but often times we do not know where to get tested. Testing is available in many places within North America. You can begin by asking your doctor, going to a clinic or public health facility for guidance. Testing is free at many facilities including family doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, sexual health clinics, and other public health units and community centres.
What Types of Testing Do I Need?
The type of test needed is directly dependent upon what you are being tested for. There are a few different types of STI Test procedures; most of them are simple and easy to have done.
It is important to get tested if having multiple sexual partners, the condom or dam breaks or slips, you are not sure of the status of your partner, at an annual checkup, if showing symptoms or know of recent exposure, and/or as part of your routine ongoing health care.
The bottom line is that folks of all genders and sexual orientations should be tested once a year, after unprotected sex, or in between new partners — whichever comes first!
Exposure to different STIs also come with different timelines for testing. There are different incubation periods for the different STIs. This incubation period means the time between infection and the appearance of symptoms. This ranges between a couple of days to a few months. This is something to discuss with your healthcare provider to get specific answers about in order to test within the appropriate time to avoid false negative results.
How Long Before I Get Results?
Most of the test results are completed between 2-5 days. But never assume you are negative if you do not hear back from your test provider. Always call and confirm the results before engaging in sexual activities. Tests are also available for use within the privacy of your home. These ones are generally something that requires payment. The in-home testing is an alternative for folks who are uncomfortable going to a healthcare provider for testing.
Results and Next Steps
Once you have received your results, the next steps depend upon what they were. If you are positive, then there are steps that need to be taken. These are dependent upon the diagnosis, and often times involve medication, sharing your diagnosis with past sexual partners and/or a host of treatment options to help manage symptoms and future outbreaks. The reality is that 1 in 2 people will experience an STI within their lifetime. With that representing 50% of the population, we need to continue to remove the stigma from STIs, create awareness about them and the prevention options available, make testing easily accessible and known, and work together to lessen the epidemic proportions of STIs worldwide.
Together we can make a difference!
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