At Women’s and Maternity Care Specialists, we offer full sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening through direct collection via swab as well as blood work. We routinely offer this during the annual well woman exam, but it can be obtained at any appointment. It is important to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision regarding what type of testing you would like. Prevention for all STDs involves using condoms for all sexual encounters, regardless of if you are already on a form of contraception. Below are some of the following tests that we order and some basic information on the infection.
Gonorrhea is an infection caused by bacteria that is spread through any kind of sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal). Symptoms include spotting or bleeding between periods, pain or burning on urination, and increased vaginal discharge. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause pain, scarring of the fallopian tubes, and problems with fertility. Treatment involves the administration of antibiotics through a shot and oral medications.
Chlamydia is an infection caused by bacteria, that is sometimes diagnosed with gonorrhea. It is spread through sexual contact as well and can be present without symptoms. When women do have symptoms, they include abnormal vaginal discharge and pain with urination. It can be cured with antibiotics, but it is important to get treatment, as an undiagnosed infection can cause scarring of the pelvic organs and problems with
The trichomonas infection is caused by a parasite that is sexually transmitted. Symptoms include discharge (typically associated with a strong odor), discomfort with urination and intercourse, and irritation around the genital region. Trichomoniasis is treated with antibiotics, and it is important to ensure that your partner receives treatment as well.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted disease that attacks the immune system. It is spread through sexual contact as well as through blood or body fluid contact. Often there are minimal symptoms when an individual is first infected (flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches and joint pain). If left untreated, HIV will cause the body to be unable to fight off more serious infections leaving the individual very ill. It is diagnosed through a blood test and treated with lifetime antiviral medications.
Syphilis is caused by a spiral shaped bacteria that is transmitted through sexual activity (typically oral or vaginal intercourse). It presents in four different stages, beginning with the development of a painless bump in the mouth or on the genitals. The bump or chancre will usually last 3-6 weeks, and if untreated will progress to the second
stage. The secondary stage involves a non-itchy rash that develops on the hands and feet, as well as cold-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat, muscle aches and headaches. The third stage, or latent stage, is typically symptom-free but can still be detected by a blood test. The final stage of syphilis is very serious and can involve life-threatening conditions, therefore it is important to get treatment as early as possible, and to
have your partner tested/treated as well.
Genital herpes is caused by a virus and is sexually transmitted. Unlike some other forms of STDs, it can be transmitted through contact as well as through fluids, so while condom use will help significantly decrease the chance of contracting the virus, it is still possible to get it if you come in contact with herpetic blisters. The main symptom is typically an outbreak of painful blisters on the genitals associated with flu-like symptoms. The blisters will last approximately two to four weeks without treatment. HSV is best diagnosed in the presence of the blisters with a
swab. Blood work can be inconclusive as genital herpes can be type 1 or type 2, but type 1 is also associated with fever blisters of the mouth. There is no definitive cure for herpes, but medication can manage the symptoms and suppress future outbreaks.