STD Testing

GYN Choices

Abortion Clinic & Family Planning Obstetrics & Gynecology located in East Brunswick, NJ

Every year, more than 20 million Americans find out they have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or sexually transmitted infection (STI). While some people have visible symptoms, others can carry an STD — and pass it along — without showing any signs of infection. The team of board-certified gynecologists at GYN Choices in East Brunswick, New Jersey, provide comprehensive STD testing for women of all ages in the greater central New Jersey area. To learn more or make an appointment, call the office today.

STD Testing Q & A

What is an STD?

Sexually transmitted disease. The term “sexually transmitted disease (STD)” is used to refer to a condition passed from one person to another through sexual contact. You can contract an STD by having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the STD.

Can you have an STD and not know it?

You can have any sexually transmitted disease and not show any symptoms. While someone else may show signs, such as burning when urinating, genital itching, or discharge, you may not have any symptoms.

Take chlamydia, for example. This STD can cause some serious problems if left untreated, yet 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men have no symptoms.

Or HIV. On average, symptoms from HIV don’t show up for a decade after infection.

Why should I be tested for STDs?

If you’re sexually active — even if you only have one partner — STD screenings should be part of your preventive health care routine. Regular testing is the best way to detect an STD that’s either asymptomatic or lying dormant.

Regular STD testing gives you the opportunity to find and treat any infections as quickly as possible so that you can avoid potential health complications. Finding out that you have an STD is also the first step in preventing its further spread.

GYN Choices of Central Jersey offers in-office testing and treatment for a complete range of STDs, including:
shot of word abreviated word STD

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • HPV (low-risk and high-risk)
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Trichomoniasis
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
  • HIV/AIDS

After performing a pelvic exam and going over your medical history, your gynecologist can recommend how often you should be tested, and which tests you should have.

What is involved with an STD test?

Getting an STD test at GYN Choices of New Jersey is quick and easy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single test for all STDs — each STD has its own test. Dr. White and our team can help you figure out which tests would be a good match for your sex life.

STD tests may include:

  • A urine test
  • A cheek swab
  • A blood test
  • A physical exam (looking for warts, sores, rashes, irritation, or discharge)
  • Testing your sores
  • Using a swab to gently take discharge or cell samples from your penis, vagina, urethra, cervix, anus, or throat

How long does it take to get the results from my STD test?

Just as each test is different for the many STDs out there, so are the times to get your results back. That’s because different STDs have different incubation times.

When you first contract an STD, your body needs time to recognize that fact and produce antibodies to the disease. This period is known as the incubation period, and you may not experience any symptoms. If you test for the STD too early and the incubation period is not over, you may test negative for the disease even though you have it. Incubation periods range from 2-12 days for oral herpes, all the way up to 2-26 weeks for hepatitis C, and 1 month to 10 years for different HPVs.

Bottom line? Fill us in on your sexual patterns and we’ll tell you which STD test or tests you should probably have. Then we can give you the test, and we can tell you when you can expect your results. Not to be oblique…but these things are a little complicated.

What are the most common STDs?

STDs are bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections that are contracted through normal sexual contact. Although any sexually active person is at risk of infection, roughly half of all new STD diagnoses occur in adolescents and young adults. The most widespread STDs are:

Genital Herpes

Caused by the herpes simplex virus, genital herpes typically causes painful sores to emerge around your genitals. Not everyone who gets herpes has evident sores, however, so it’s possible to carry and transmit this STD without knowing. Approximately one in six adults has herpes.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are the most frequently diagnosed STDs, often first appear much like a mild urinary tract infection. If they go undetected and untreated, these STDs can ultimately cause chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancies, and even infertility.

Syphilis

This STD usually causes the emergence of painless sores called chancres on your feet, hands, or genitals. You may also experience flu-like symptoms. Left untreated, syphilis can cause a variety of serious health complications, including heart problems and nerve damage.

Why should I be tested for HPV?

Doctor consulting male patient, working on diagnostic STD test on a male patient. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that’s so common that virtually all sexually active people will contract it eventually. In fact, experts believe that most people are infected with HPV shortly after becoming sexually active.

Because many people with HPV don’t have symptoms of any kind, it’s possible to be unaware that you’re carrying the infection. If you do test positive for HPV, you’ll be told whether you have low-risk or high-risk HPV.

Low-risk HPV can cause genital warts, or small contagious bumps, to appear on or around your vagina, whereas high-risk HPV can increase your risk of developing several types of cancer, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer.

If you test positive for either type of HPV, your gynecologist can help you take steps to manage the infection and protect your health.

To schedule your next STD screening, call GYN Choices of Central Jersey today.

How often should I get tested for an STD?

There’s no set timeline here. It’s not like scheduling dental cleanings and checkups every six months on the button. Frequency of STD testing depends, to some degree, on your sexual activity. Many doctors feel it’s a good idea to get tested after engaging in sex with a new partner without a condom. But you should be using protection.

Otherwise, this is a kind of a rule of thumb. Sexually active women under the age of 25 should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year, as rates of infection in this age group are off the charts. Everyone from 13 to 65 should be tested at least once for HIV, unless you’ve only lived in a convent or monastery your entire life.

One way to look at this is, if you’re active sexually and you have new partners, you need to have protected sex, but you also need to get tested for STDs. When you’re here with our team at GYN Choices of Central New Jersey, let’s talk about it. This isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. We all have sex. It’s a great part of being human. It simply makes sense to be safe about it.

How accurate are STD tests?

Modern STD tests have become very accurate. Still, there is not a test out there that has 100 percent accuracy every single time. This has to do with both the sensitivity and specificity of the test. Sensitivity refers to how good a test is at identifying an infection. Specificity refers to how good the test is at identifying who does not have an infection.

Over time, there has been a substantial improvement in tests for STDs. Generally, traditional in-lab tests are the most accurate type of tests. But there is some variability in reliability between tests. Testing performed at our East Brunswick offices is a much better option than relying on the at-home or online tests out there. You can use those as screening tools, but little else.

Bottom line? In-lab tests for STDs have accuracy ratings of 90 percent or higher.

How often should I get tested for an STD?

There’s no set timeline here. It’s not like scheduling dental cleanings and checkups every six months on the button. The frequency of STD testing depends, to some degree, on your sexual activity. Many doctors feel it’s a good idea to get tested after engaging in sex with a new partner without a condom. But you should be using protection.

Otherwise, this is a kind of rule of thumb. Sexually active women under the age of 25 should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year, as rates of infection in this age group are off the charts. Everyone from 13 to 65 should be tested at least once for HIV unless you’ve only lived in a convent or monastery your entire life.

One way to look at this is, if you’re active sexually and you have new partners, you need to have protected sex, but you also need to get tested for STDs. When you’re here with our team at GYN Choices of Central New Jersey, let’s talk about it. This isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. We all have sex. It’s a great part of being human. It simply makes sense to be safe about it.

What happens if I have an STD but don’t have it treated?

People often assume STDs are relatively harmless, maybe causing a little burning when urinating or something similar. Reality is far different. Over 20 million Americans contract an STD each year. Due to the stigma attached to them, many of these people don’t get tested. But, while there are some more low-key STDs, others you know quite well — HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, hepatitis C.

These diseases aren’t to be sloughed off. If left untreated, an STD can lead to serious, possibly life-endangering, long-term complications. These can include:

Patient couple consulting with doctor about infertility and effects of STDs

  • Male and female sterility
  • Blindness
  • Bone deformities
  • Damage to major organs
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cancer of the vagina, penis, anus, or throat
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Tubal pregnancy
  • Pain during urination and intercourse
  • Blisters, sores, warts, rashes, or swelling in the genital, anal, or mouth areas
  • Discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum
  • Persistent flu-like symptoms
  • Birth defects, including mental retardation in the baby
  • Death

What are the risk factors for contracting an STD?

There are different risk factors. Of course, having sex is the ultimate risk factor, but who wants to give that up? While you could say pretty much anyone having sex these days is at a high risk for STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea, we don’t have to become paralyzed by fear. These characteristics would put you at a high risk for having an STD. You…

  • Have more than one sex partner
  • Have sex with someone who has had many sex partners
  • Don’t use a condom when having sex
  • Share needles when injecting drugs
  • Trade sex for money or drugs

You need to understand that it is possible to contract an STD from other behaviors than sexual intercourse. Sure, that’s the most prevalent method of transmission, but here are others:

  • Kissing — Kissing trades saliva between kisser and kissee. Mono is one that comes to mind, but herpes also transmits this way through cold sores.
  • Oral sex — Many people don’t consider this “real” sex, but oral sex can transmit diseases if the penis, vagina, or anus involved are infected. Genital herpes, chlamydia, and HPV can all spread orally.
  • Contaminated food — Hepatitis A can spread from food prep being done by a person who didn’t wash his or her hands after using the restroom. That’s why you see those signs in the restrooms of any restaurant worth its salt.
  • Skin-to-skin contact — Herpes and HPV can spread through skin contact between people. This is especially true if there is a nick from shaving or the like.
  • Tanning bed — Molluscum contagiosum, a bumpy genital infection, can spread by skin-to-skin contact or from shared contaminated surfaces such as your friendly neighborhood tanning bed.

There are other ways to spread STDs, as well. Just know the issue involved is much more than simply intercourse.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

If you're interested in learning more about STD testing please contact us for a consultation at 732-698-1115 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.

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Have a question? Get in touch now!

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