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STD Screening: What You Need to Know

Perhaps, you’re wondering if you—or maybe your partner—need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); or maybe you’re just interested to learn more about STD screenings and tests. Whatever reason you may have, it’s beneficial to know the different types of screening and who needs to get the specific test.

What are the different tests that a person can get to check for STDs? How frequent should someone have these tests done? The answers vary, depending on your age, sexual behaviour, and health risk factors.

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Remember, STD screening is different from a gynaecological exam. If you think you need to be screened, request for it from your Singapore doctor. Discuss with your healthcare provider about your concerns and the tests you might need to have.

Tests for Different STDs

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

You need to get screened at least once a year if:
• You’re sexually active
• You have HIV
• You’re a man who had sex with another man
• You were once a rape victim
• You had sex with a new partner or had multiple partners since your last STD screening.

Screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is done by either obtaining a urine sample from the patient or a swab from the cervix (for women) or from inside the penis (for men). The sample is then sent to a laboratory at http://www.mlamclinic.com.sg/std-testing/ in SIngapore for examination. While you may not show signs or feel symptoms of being sick, getting tested is still important as these infections usually don’t show symptoms.

Hepatitis, Syphilis, and HIV

People aging between 13 and 64 years old should get screened for HIV at least once, while those with higher risks should get their tests done once a year.

Screening for hepatitis C is advisable for people born between 50 to 70 years of age as incidence of such infection is rather high in this age group. If you’re screening shows no signs of hepatitis in your system, we recommend that you have yourself vaccinated to get protection from these viruses.

Tests for all three infections—hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV—are needed if:
• One of your screening test shows that you’re positive for an STD, which increases your risk for another STD
• You’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant
• You’re a man who had sex with another man
• You were once a rape victim
• You’ve had sex with a new partner or had multiple partners since your last STD screening in Singapore.

To screen for hepatitis and HIV, the doctor will have to get a blood sample from you. For syphilis screening, your doctor will take either a blood sample or a swab from a genital sore, if there’s any.

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Genital Herpes

Unfortunately, there’s no specific screening to check for herpes, but your doctor will take a culture or scraping of early ulcers or blisters that you may have for examination.

Blood tests can also help detect herpes and can identify what type of herpes a patient may have, but results are not always certain. Type 1 is the herpes virus that usually causes cold sores, though in rare cases can also trigger development of genital sores; type 2 is the one that’s more likely to cause genital sores. With the vague demarcations of the two types, getting inaccurate results is not uncommon; it’s possible to get a false-positive or a false-negative test result.

HPV

Some types of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause serious health problems like cervical cancer, while other types can only cause genital warts. What many people don’t know is that most sexually active individuals get infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), and never show symptoms. The good thing is, however, the virus disappears in one to two years, in some people. But just to be safe, have yourself screened for HPV.

For men, there’s no HPV test available. HPV, in men, is diagnosed through biopsy of genital warts or by physical inspection. For women, HPV screening includes:
• Pap Test. This test checks the cervix for any abnormal cells and should be done every three to four years for women aging 20 to 65 years old.
• HPV Test. Women aging 30 years and above and have normal Pap test results are offered to have HPV test in conjunction with a Pap test once every five years. Younger women aging 20 to 30 years old will be advised to get screened for HPV if the doctor found any abnormality on their Pap test results.

HPV is said to be related to cancer of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and mouth and throat. Fortunately, there are now vaccines available to protect men and women from certain types of HPV, although these vaccines are more effective when administered before you become sexually active.

Positive STD Screening Results

If an STD screening shows positive result, the next things to do is to get more in-depth screening tests and then undergo treatment as suggested by your healthcare provider. Also, make sure to inform your partner(s). Your partner must also be examined and treated, because it’s highly possible to pass infections back and forth.

Expect to feel a mix of emotions. At first, you may be shocked, afraid, ashamed, or angry. It helps to remind yourself that you’ve done the right thing and that it’s better to have the problem detected earlier than later. You and your partner can get treated together and have better chances of getting cured. Just ensure to be completely honest with your Singapore doctor about your reproductive health, so you can be treated in the most suitable way possible.

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