How do you test for STDs?


Quick Answer

Physical exams; blood samples; urine samples; or samples of saliva, cells, tissue or discharge are all types of tests for STDs. The method of testing for a particular STD depends on the symptoms the patient experiences and the type of infection suspected, according to Planned Parenthood.

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Full Answer

A physical exam and a review of symptoms is sometimes all that is needed to make a definitive diagnosis of a particular sexually transmitted disease. A physical exam to check for an STD involves the provider looking at the genital or anal areas to see if any signs of infection are notable. Warts, sores, discharge and rash may be noted. In these instances, treatment can commence right away, explains Planned Parenthood.

In other cases, diagnostic tests may be required. Commonly, a urine sample is taken in a special cup. A blood sample may also be taken depending on the test being performed. Certain STDs, such as gonorrhea, are tested for by obtaining a sample of cells; urine; and discharge from the anus, urethra or vagina. These substances may be collected during the exam. When additional diagnostic tests are ordered, the results of those tests may not be readily available for several days or even weeks, notes Planned Parenthood.

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