STI Screenings – The ins and outs!

A lot of people make one common mistake when it comes to sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) – presuming that no symptoms means no STI! Wrong chomas!

Sometimes symptoms are so small that they may go unnoticed. Sometimes, the only way to know if you have an STI is to get tested. That is why it is important to get regular STI screenings, especially after you start having regular sexual intercourse.

If you have recently had unprotected sex, have a new partner or more than one partner or for any reason are worried that you might have an STI, it is important to get checked out as soon as you can. It can be kind of frightening at first, especially if you haven’t been for a STI test before. Luckily, I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about getting tested.

The Tests

There are a range of tests that can be taken for different STIs – namely, urine, blood and swab tests. However, STI screenings involves being tested for a range of different STIs and usually include the following:

  • HIV Testing and Counselling
  • STI Screening (blood or urine)
  • Medical history analysis
  • Pap smear/cervical screening (checks the health of your cervix)
  • Blood pressure and weight check
  • Breast examination
  • Urine analysis
  • Contraceptive consultation

Most of the above tests involve a quick pin prick to draw some blood or are as simple as peeing in a cup. The Pap smear might seem scary. Your health care practitioner will ask you to lie back, and then an instrument will be inserted into the vagina to be able to view the cervix properly. Then a brush or swab is used to swab a sample of cells from the opening of your cervix. Although pap smears are not painful, they can be somewhat uncomfortable – but don’t worry it’s over quickly.

Screenings can be personalised depending on your signs, symptoms and medical history, your doctor or health care practitioner will be able to advise what best set of screenings for you is. Dependant on the clinic you attend, results usually take between 24-48 hours and your health care provider will either prescribe medication for present infections or counsel on what the next steps are, usually both.

If all in the clear, at least you walk away with your mind being at ease about your status, a sexually healthy, fabulous you! You see chomas, STI screenings aren’t so bad now are they?