STI is the shortened form of sexually transmitted disease and if left untreated, this type of diseases often leads to severe health conditions including cancer, infertility and loss of eye sight and damage of organs. On the other hand the number of STI patients across the UK is multiplying at an exponential rate, says a prominent doctor on sexual health in London.
The majority of STI patients fail to get treatment. This is because most STIs have no tell-tale symptoms, which make accurate diagnosis very difficult. Moreover, social stigma surrounding STIs is also another reason that keeps patients away from seeking medical help.
But doctors associated with a renowned clinic in London for cheap private blood tests emphasise on testing to ascertain whether you have an STI.
Who are STI testing meant for?
Generally, STI testing is ideal for anyone, who is sexually active. But it becomes more than crucial under the following circumstances:
- When you’re about to enter into a new relationship
- Both you and your partner do not want to use condoms anymore
- You have multiple partners to have sex with
- Your partner has multiple partners
- You or your partner has developed a symptom that possibly could be due to an STI
When you and your partner are in a long-term, monogamous relationship and both of you were tested negative at the beginning of the relationship, you don’t need taking the STI tests regularly. But most people involved in long-term relationships do not get themselves checked before getting into the relationship. Thus, they are likely to carry undiagnosed STIs for years together.
STIs you should be tested for
The best person to discuss the issue with is your doctor. There are many STI tests available and based on your history and lifestyle, the doctor can tailor the list. Usually, it includes testing for the following STIs:
- Hepatitis B
- HIV or human immunodeficiency virus and
The Herpes is not usually recommended unless and until you’ve serious chances of developing it.
Feel free to talk to your doctor
You should not expect your doctor to test you for all the possible STIs at your annual sexual health exam. It is your responsibility to bring up the topic with the physician and get yourself tested. Sexual health is not to be taken lightly and you should not shy away from taking such pro-active measures. The more honest and transparent you are about these matters the easier the task is for the doctor and you get the right treatment early.
Pregnant women must have their STI screening during the first pre-natal visit because the infections may have severe effect on the baby in the womb.
You should also get tested promptly in case you were forcefully subdued to have sexual intercourse or any other type of sexual activity.
Understand your risk factors
Discuss the risk factors for your sexual health in details with your doctor. Anal sex increases the chances of developing an STI or the other for both you and your partner. Standard STI tests are sufficient to diagnose some anal STIs while an anal Pap smear is necessary to screen for cancerous or precancerous cells caused by human papilloma virus or HPV.
In order to identify the risk factors for your sexual health, the doctor should have the following information, which only you can provide:
- Any medication you’re taking presently
- The kind of protection you and your partner use while having vaginal, oral and anal sex
- Any history or suspected exposure to STIs
- Whether you or your partner have multiple sexual partners
Place to get STI screenings
You can get screened at your doctor’s office or a sexual health clinic nearby. It depends on where you want to go. Most STIs are notifiable diseases; this means your doctor is legally bound to inform the government if you are tested positive. The list of notifiable diseases includes the following:
- HIV and
Online and at-home test facilities are also there but they are not very reliable.
Procedures for STI screening
Based on your sexual history the doctor will recommend you the tests you should take. These may include tests for blood, urine and swab samples, as well as other physical exams.
Tests of blood and urine samples
Testing blood and urine samples proves helpful in diagnosing the majority of the STIs including the following:
- Herpes and
Certain STIs, HIV for example, take weeks and even months to get detected in blood tests.
Doctors also rely on swabs taken from the vagina, urethra or the cervix to detect STIs. A cotton applicator is usually used to collect vaginal and cervical swabs from female patients during pelvic exam. If you are used to having anal intercourse, doctors may also collect the rectal swab to check for any sexually transmitted infection in your rectum.
HPV and pap smears
Blood London is a reliable clinic for cheap blood tests in London. Doctors associated with it point out that Pap smear is not an STI test at all. It checks for early traces of cancer in the cervix or the anus. Women, particularly those infected with HPV 16 and HPV 18, are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer.
On the other hand, both women and men, who are engaged in anal intercourse, have higher chances of anal cancer. A normal Pap smear sheds no light on your STIs. Doctors conduct a separate HPV test for it. When your Pap smear shows abnormal results, it does not necessarily mean you have already developed or likely to develop cancer either in the anus or the cervix.
When your Pap smear shows abnormal results, the doctor may ask you to take an HPV test. If the HPV test shows negative, you are pretty unlikely to develop anal or cervical cancer in near future.