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Do I need to be tested for an STI?

Many STIs have little or no noticeable symptoms. This, unfortunately, means that getting tested regularly is the only way to know for sure if you’ve contracted an STI. If you’ve had oral, anal, or vaginal sex, then you’ll need to talk with a doctor or clinic about getting yourself tested.

I might be showing symptoms of an STI. Should I be tested?

If you’ve had sex with another person and you notice any strange symptoms, talk to a doctor or visit a clinic to get tested. Previous STI symptoms can appear to be gone, as the symptoms come and go, but the STI is still there. It’s common for STI symptoms to be very mild, but you should always see a doctor or visit a clinic if you notice anything that feels off.

Different STIs have different symptoms. Signs of STIs include:

  • bumps or sores on or around your thighs, genitals, and buttcheeks
  • odd discharge from your penis or vagina
  • having to pee a lot or burning when you pee
  • pain, itching, irritation and/or swelling in your genitals
  • flu-like symptoms like tiredness and body aches.

All of these symptoms can come from issues other than STIs (like pimples, UTIs, or yeast infections). Getting tested is the only way for you to know for sure what’s going on in your body. Talk with your doctor or a clinic about your symptoms, what kind of sex you’ve had, and whether you regularly use condoms and/or dental dams. They can help you to figure out what types of testing or treatment you might need.

It’s essential to get tested if you think you might have contracted an STI because some STIs can cause severe, long-term health problems if left untreated. Also, having an STI makes it more likely for you to contract other STIs, like HIV. It’s best to find out right away if you have an STI so that you can avoid transmitting it to your partner or partners.

Getting tested may seem frightening, but try to relax. Most common STIs can be quickly taken care of with a simple antibiotic and STIs without a cure often have treatments to help you with symptoms and to lower your chances of giving the STI to anyone else. The sooner you know if you have an STI, the faster you can start taking care of yourself and your partner(s).

I don’t have any symptoms at all — 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 STIs don’t see any of the symptoms. So the only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to go and get yourself tested.

It’s even more important to get yourself tested if you’ve had unprotected sex, or if you find out your partner has an STI. A doctor or clinic can help you figure out whether or not you should be tested for STIs.

If you DO have an STI, it’s best to find out as soon as possible. STIs can also spread to other people you have sex with, whether or not you have any symptoms.

The best part about getting tested for STIs? Once you get tested, your mind can be put at ease. STI testing is a regular part of being responsible and taking care of yourself. Plus, STI tests can be quick, painless, and sometimes even free.

For more information on our free STI testing services through AIDS Resource, click here.