Like anything medical, if you’ve never had an STI test before, it can be a bit nervous making. Especially since no one ever bothers to explain anything. STI tests can actually take several forms depending on exactly which STI is being tested for. So if you are being tested for multiple STIs, there may be a couple of different tests.
There are four ways STIs are tested for:
- Blood testing – includes HIV and Hep, so is part of just about every STI test on the planet
- Physical Exam – looks for crabs, herpes sores and other obvious signs of STIs
- Swabs – checks for bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, and used to test possible herpes sores
- Urine testing – alternate method for testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and a few others.
Every clinic and lab will handle their testing a bit differently, but in general (and depending on what STIs you are being tested for) you can expect something like this:
When you first arrive you fill out any necessary paperwork. The desk may give you a cup to get a urine sample while you wait. When it is your turn, you get called back to see a nurse or med-tech. They’ll have you take off your clothes so they can do a physical exam. They may swab any sores you have or swab the inside of your genitals. After you get your clothes back on they’ll draw blood. Then you head home and you’ll get the results of your tests in a few weeks.