STD testing is what detects a sexually transmitted bacteria, virus, or parasite. Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for contracting an STD and should be tested regularly. Doctors recommend routine STD testing every year. It is also recommended to get a screening whenever there is a new partner. It is smart to get screened if you think your partner has been unfaithful as well.
But what exactly is an STD? Short for sexually transmitted disease, it is an infection that is commonly passed during sexual contact. STD testing that is completed at a physician’s office or a lab is what tells a person if they have been infected or not.
Common STD’s include chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis A, B, & C, herpes 1 & 2, HIV, HPV (genital warts), pubic lice (crabs), syphilis, Trichomoniasis, and vaginitis. Some of these are bacteria, some are viruses, and others are parasites. Let’s discuss the difference.
Bacteria are infections that are generally cured with a specific kind of antibiotic. Antibiotics are medications that kill the bacteria in the body. They require a prescription that is prescribed by a doctor. Sexually transmitted bacteria include gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. These bacteria are easy to cure with the right antibiotics. If they are not treated, they may lead to major health problems.
Viruses are infections that are often treated with a prescription antiviral medicine. A viral infection cannot be killed with antibiotic medication. The body is able to kill certain viral infections naturally but others can live in the body forever. Antiviral medication suppresses a virus and prevents it from rapidly multiplying in the body. Many people that use antiviral medicines are able to lead an active, normal, and healthy lifestyle. Viruses that can be transmitted during sexual contact include hepatitis, herpes, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HPV (human papilloma virus). Antiviral medicine is available to treat many of these infections. If left untreated, they may cause serious health complications. Doctors and researchers are continuously working on new medications to suppress and/or cure these infections.
Parasites are small or microscopic bugs that live in or on the body. Some of them are transmitted through sexual activity. Medication is available to treat these types of parasites. Common parasitic STD’s include pubic lice (often called “crabs”), intestinal parasites, scabies, and Trichomoniasis. A doctor can run a test to detect these parasites. Most times they are cured with over-the-counter or prescription medication. It is important to be properly diagnosed by a physician and treated quickly.