Most of the time, STIs have no symptoms. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. So if you’ve had vaginal, anal, or oral sex, talk with a doctor or nurse about getting tested.
I think have symptoms of an STI. Should I get tested?
If you’ve had sexual contact with another person and notice any signs of an STI, talk to a doctor or nurse about getting tested. STI symptoms can come and go over time, but that doesn’t mean the STI is gone. It’s common for STI symptoms to be so mild that they don’t bother you, but you should still see a doctor or nurse if you notice anything that feels off.
Different STIs have different symptoms. Signs of STIs include:
sores or bumps on and around your genitals, thighs, or butt cheeks
weird discharge from your vagina or penis
burning when you pee and/or having to pee a lot
itching, pain, irritation and/or swelling in your penis, vagina, vulva, or anus
flu-like symptoms like fever, body aches, swollen glands, and feeling tired.
All of these symptoms can be caused by things that aren’t STIs (like pimples, UTIs, or yeast infections). So getting tested is the only way to know for sure what’s going on. Talk with your nurse or doctor about your symptoms, what kind of sex you’ve had (vaginal, anal, or oral), and whether you use condoms and/or dental dams. They’ll help you figure out what kinds of testing or treatment you may need.
It’s really important to get tested if you think you have an STI, because some STIs can cause serious health problems if you don’t treat them. Also, having an STImakes you more likely to get other STIs, like HIV. And it’s best to find out right away if you have an STI, so you can avoid giving it to other people.
The idea of getting tested may seem scary, but try to chill out. Most common STIs can be easily cured with medicine. And STIs that can’t be cured often have treatments to help you with symptoms and to lower your chances of giving the STIto anyone else. So the sooner you know you have an STI, the faster you can start taking care of yourself and your partner(s).
I don’t have any symptoms — do I still need to get tested?
You can’t tell if you have an STI just by the way you look or feel — most of the time, people with STI don’t have any symptoms. So the only way to know for sure if you (or your partner) have an STI is to get tested.
What can I get tested for?
Rapid HIV Testing
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.
Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U)
Based on the emerging research, the scientific consensus is that a person living with HIV who is taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed and who has an undetectable viral load in their blood sample for at least six months, has a negligible risk of transmitting HIV sexually. MDHHS has even more information regarding U=U; click to read.
Rapid Hepatitis C Testing
Watch this short clip regarding Hepatitis C: https://youtu.be/S_bDKPMsNNY
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C has been called a silent disease because people can get infected and not know it. Some people who get infected with Hepatitis C are able to clear, or get rid of the virus, but most people who get infected develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can cause serious health problems including liver damage, liver failure, and even liver cancer.
Who should get tested for Hepatitis C?
- Anyone who has injected drugs, even just once or many years ago
- Anyone with certain medical conditions, such as chronic liver disease and HIV or AIDS
- Anyone who has received donated blood or organs before 1992
- Anyone born from 1945 through 1965
- Anyone with abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Health and safety workers who have been exposed to blood on the job through a needlestick or injury with a sharp object
- Anyone on hemodialysis
- Anyone born to a mother with Hepatitis C