Who should be tested for STDs?
You do not have to lead a promiscuous sex life to find it necessary or advisable to be tested for STDs. In some instances, skin to skin contact is enough to pass on an infection; penetrative sex is not necessary. Some infections can be passed on by indulging in oral (and anal) sex, and of course it is well publicised that you will also be at risk if you have ever had unprotected sex.
Many STDs are symptomless
The real problem in knowing whether or not you need to be screened for an STD infection is that many STDs are often symptomless. So in reality you might have only ever had one experience in life when you had unprotected sex, but if that person was infected, so will you be.
The consequences of symptomless STDs
The big problem with having a symptomless STD infection is that if you don’t get screened or tested, you’ll never know – leastwise not until it’s too late. This can have fateful consequences. The first is long term damage to your health.
Some of the nastiest STDs, things like Syphilis and Hepatitis B & C can cause irreparable damage. Hepatitis can eventually lead to Cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and cancer of the liver, and liver cancer, and Syphilis can result in death. Some of these diseases can take as long as 20 years in a symptomless condition before unleashing their devastating final payload.
Not knowing you are infected has other problems of course. It means you will carry on having sex, including maybe unprotected sex with a long term partner, and in the process you will unwittingly infect your partner(s).
Do you have any STD symptoms?
Knowing you have had unprotected sex is one very good reason to be tested for STDs. The other good reason is if you are displaying any of the common symptoms of an STD infection. What are the symptoms? They include:
- Vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse
- Blisters, sores or warts on and around your genitals and anus
- Discharge from the penis
- Discharge from the vagina
- Pain when urinating
- Pain when ejaculating
- Itching around the genitals
- Developing a rash
- Flu like symptoms
Unfortunately some of these symptoms are common to other diseases so they do not necessarily indicate that you’ve picked up a STD infection. However, the golden rule is to be safe rather than sorry. If in doubt, get tested.
Have you shared needles?
Another well publicised danger in terms of picking up an STD infection is sharing needles or any other device that punctures the skin – things like tattoo needles. If you do get tattooed it’s imperative you check out the tattoo parlour’s hygiene standards and records.
Summary of reasons for STD testing
- A partner you’ve had sex with (protected or not) reveals they have an STD infection
- You’ve had intercourse with someone and the condom broke
- You show one of more of the common STD symptoms
- You’ve shared a needle with someone
- You’ve been tattooed
Most STDs can be treated, and many simply with a course of prescribed antibiotics. Even HIV is now treatable The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can be treated, possibly cured, and the less damage your infection will do, both to you and any partners you have sex with or with whom you live closely. The trick is in getting tested for STDs early.
Remember, just because you do not have any of the common symptoms does not mean you do not have an STD infection – be safe – chat to your GP or get yourself checked out at a GUM or STD clinic.
Confidentiality and discretion guaranteed at Broadgate’s private walk in STD clinic London Wall
Undergoing STD testing or screening is a worrying experience for most people. For men and women who live and/or work in London, Broadgate’s walk in STD clinic London Wall is not only convenient, as your visit can be fitted in with any busy work schedule because no prior appointment is necessary; it also guarantees total privacy, discretion and confidentiality.
The opening hours for Broadgate’s private walk in STD Clinic London Wall are:
- 08:00 to 18:30 Monday to Thursday
- 08:00 to 17:30 on Fridays
Although no prior appointment is necessary, if you prefer to make appointment in order to minimise any potential waiting time, the number to call is 020 7638 4330.