HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). A positive STD test for HIV is a life-changing result. By killing or damaging cells of your body’s immune system, HIV progressively destroys your body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers. People diagnosed with AIDS may get life-threatening diseases called opportunistic infections, which are caused by microbes such as viruses, bacteria, or fungi. These infections do not usually make healthy people sick. Those with HIV/AIDS are also at an increased risk of developing certain cancers, neurological disorders, and a variety of other conditions.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals show no symptoms or only minimal signs from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infections. It is therefore necessary to receive regular STD testing for early detection and reducing the risk of unintentional transfer of the herpes virus. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years. Getting herpes testing is necessary to help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur “silently” before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man. Chlamydia is easily detected with a simple STD test for local residents.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. If you are concerned about having been exposed to gonorrhea, proper STD testing in your local area should occur to properly diagnose if you have contracted gonorrhea.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called “the great imitator” because so many of the signs and symptoms of syphilis are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. Because of the difficulty in diagnosing this STD, a broad panel of STD tests is usually the best course of action.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, some diseases, heavy alcohol use, and bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is also the name of a family of viral infections that affect the liver; the most common types in the United States are hepatitis A, B, and C.
Commonly called “trich” (pronounced like “trick”), trichomoniasis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.7 million people in this country alone have it. It is caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis.
Urinalysis is a clinical term for a urine test. These tests can detect and measure various materials that are eliminated in the urine, including the byproducts of normal and abnormal metabolism as well as cells, including bacteria and cellular fragments. A urinalysis can give people a better idea of their health, including their sexual health. How does this work? Urine is produced by the kidneys, located on either side of the spine at the bottom of the rib cage. The kidneys filter wastes and metabolic byproducts out of the blood, help regulate the amount of water in the body, and conserve proteins, electrolytes, and other compounds that the body can reuse. Anything that the body doesn’t need is excreted in the urine and travels from the kidneys to the bladder, through the urethra, and out of the body. Urine is generally yellow and relatively clear, but every time someone urinates, the color, quantity, concentration, and content of the urine will be slightly different because of varying constituents.
Oftentimes, if you suspect you have one or more STDs, a full STD panel is the best course of action. The leading indicator of carrying an STD is a having been diagnosed previously with any other STD. For this reason, a broad panel of STD screens is usually recommended.