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What Happens During an STD Screening?

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Cases of sexually-transmitted diseases or STD have been on the rise globally in recent years. Even Singapore is not spared from such cases, that is why there is a campaign to raise awareness of these diseases. Most of these infections can be treated at hospitals when detected early. One way to determine if you have sexually transmitted disease is to get an STD testing.

Do I Need STD Screening?

An STD screening is done to determine if you are infected with any of the common sexually-transmitted diseases. It’s important to get an STD test for the following reasons: you are sexually active; you have had more than one intimate partner; you and your partner are planning not to use contraceptives like condom; when you’re planning to have a baby; or if you see symptoms of STDs.

Testing Procedures

There is no one test for all STDs. Some of the infections need specific STD testing. To determine which STD tests you will need, you have to talk to your doctor or health care provider in Singapore about the options available. The doctor will interview you about the symptoms, your health history, your sexual practices and other information. STD screening is done using physical exams, blood sampling, urine sampling and tissue/cell/discharge/saliva sampling. For example, if you suspect that you have HIV-AIDS, blood testing and oral swab testing are recommended.

What is an STD?

Sexually-transmitted diseases are sometimes called sexually-transmitted infections or STIs. The word “infection” describes the very nature of STDS—they can be transmitted through sexual contact with another person. An STD that can be tested at http://www.kensingtonfamilyclinic.com/std-hiv/hiv-testing in Singapore is acquired through intimate contact or placing your hands, mouth or genitals on the sores or genitals of another person who has an infection. A lot of STDs don’t have symptoms until they affect other organs in the body. You will know if you need an STD testing if you have a lot of intimate contact with more than one person. Any sexually-transmitted disease should be given serious attention because you are placing your life and your partner’s life in danger.

What is HIV?

One of the most dreaded STDs is HIV-AIDs. HIV means human immunodeficiency virus. It’s a disease that targets your immune system, that is why patients with this condition are prone to other diseases. The virus attacks the T cells or CD4 cells which are supposed to help the body’s immune system. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS. AIDS is the final stage of HIV. HIV in time will destroy most of the T cells and in turn, your body will not be able to fight off diseases and infections effectively. While HIV is destroying the CD4 cells, it continuously makes copies of itself. Unfortunately, HIV cannot be cured but the symptoms can be treated. The only sure way to find out if you have HIV is to get an STD test.

What is AIDS?

AIDS means acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Not all HIV patients progress to AIDS, considered the final stage of HIV. By the time the person has AIDS, the body’s immune system has progressively weakened that you can no longer fight off infections and diseases. A person who undergoes STD screening and has a CD4 cell count of below 200 cells/mm3 has AIDS. It’s not HIV-AIDS that is going to endanger the life of the person, but an opportunistic illness that cannot be warded off by the body’s weak immune system. Unfortunately, the life expectancy for HIV-AIDS patients with an opportunistic illness such as pneumonia is short.

Common STDs

The following are the most common STD cases in Singapore within the last decade according to various studies.

1. Gonorrhea. This sexually transmitted disease can affect both men and women. It is acquired through genital contact with someone who is infected. A pregnant woman can also pass gonorrhea to the baby, so it’s important to get STD screening if you experience the following symptoms: pain when urinating, discharges, itching around the anal area, painful bowel movements, and swollen testicles in men.

2. Non-Gonococcal Urethritis. NGU is a sexually-transmitted disease that affects the urethra. It is caused by other STDs except gonorrhea. The symptoms are almost the same as gonorrhea, however. There is discharge, pain when urinating, itching or tenderness in men, pain and vaginal bleeding in women, and sore throat if it’s an oral infection.

3. Syphilis. This disease is spread when you become intimate and come into contact with your partner’s syphilis sores. Some people, however, don’t notice that they have sores and unwittingly pass the disease to their partners. Mothers can also pass this to their unborn child. There are no noticeable syphilis symptoms except for the sores which can occasionally be mistaken for other conditions like pimples or ingrown hair.

4. Chlamydia. Like syphilis, chlamydia doesn’t have noticeable symptoms, that is why it’s important to get tested. You might experience some of the following symptoms, however; discharges in men, pain when urinating, bleeding after an intimate contact, and pain in the testicles or pelvic area. Chlamydia can cause infertility and pelvic or testicle pain when left untreated.

5. Genital Warts. The flesh-colored warts are usually found in the genital area or around the mouth. Some might be too small to be visible. These warts appear because of the human papillomavirus or HPV which has more than 40 different strains. When HPV is untreated in some cases, it might develop into cervical cancer and can cause problems during pregnancy.

6. Genital Herpes. This disease is caused by one of either two viruses called the herpes simplex viruses type 1 and type 2. Infected persons develop blisters. Some of these can disappear after time but that doesn’t mean you’re no longer infected.

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