STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. STIs used to be called STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases. The word disease was changed to infection because it is more accurate. Someone may be infected with an STI but never show any signs or symptoms of disease. They can still carry and spread the infection to others, even if they never feel sick or have any symptoms. The new term also helps make it clear that STIs can be treated and managed.
Anyone who has had sex can get an STI.
A sexually transmitted infection develops in your body when a bacteria, virus, or parasite is passed on to you through sexual contact with a person who has an STI. This can happen through: anal, oral, or vaginal sex as well as sharing sex toys or sharing needles. It can also happen with skin-to-skin touching. Even infections with “no symptoms” can be damaging to your reproductive system, passed on during childbirth and affect relationships.
There are three kinds of STIs:
- Bacterial STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can be cured with medication.
- Viral STIs like herpes and HIV which cannot be cured, but their symptoms can be treated.
- Parasite STIs: Scabies or pubic lice which can be cured with skin creams.
PAC offers free testing and treatment for the 2 most common infections in our state – Chlamydia & Gonorrhea. Results are determined through a simple urine test conducted by a registered nurse. Urine is sent to a lab for testing. Results and medication (if needed) are available the following week. Our staff will set a follow-up appointment for you on the day of your testing.
Chlamydia & Gonorrhea often have “no symptoms” * and can be easily tested and treated with medication. If not caught early enough, these STIs can lead to PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) and infertility.
At list time, PAC only offers urine testing for Chlamydia & Gonorrhea.
In addition to urine tests, there are other types of testing for STIs:
- Swab tests are also used to test for things like chlamydia and gonorrhea. The health care provider will take a small sample of fluid from your vagina, throat, or anus and place it into a small container. This sample will be sent to a lab for testing.
- Blood tests are used to test for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. You will need to have a small vial of blood taken from your arm and then that sample will be sent off to a lab for testing.
- Rapid response tests are also used for HIV. A health care provider will prick your finger and will use that blood to conduct the test on the spot. Results take about five minutes.
- Other tests: A sample of fluid from a sore is sometimes used to test for herpes. Your health care provider can diagnose anal or genital warts right away simply by looking at them. If you don’t have symptoms, you can’t be diagnosed.
STIs take time to develop. Even if you are in a hurry to get tested, you may have to wait a bit after sexual contact before you will get an accurate test result. To schedule an appointment for a urine STI test for Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, contact us now.
*If you are having symptoms such as increased discharge, painful urination, lesions, ulcers, enlarged lymph nodes, body aches or fever… please contact a physician immediately.