What are STDs? | Is there an STD Testing Clinic Near Me?

STD testing ClevelandDo you have reason to ask, “What are STDs?” and wondering, “Is there an STD Testing Clinic near me?”

If so, then this site will provide you with some good information, but at the same time don't wait to find a clinic that screens for STDs, as some of these diseases can become very serious AND contagious.

More than likely there is an STD testing center near you. Google is your friend, so use it. If you think you may be exhibiting symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, most larger towns and cities have at least one STD clinic where all they do is test and screen for STDs.

These STD centers are often faster, more efficient and sometimes even cheaper than going to an ER, urgent care or doctor’s office. But even if the answer to the question, “Are there STD clinics near me” is “no” in your case, you can still have STD screening and diagnosis done in virtually any full-service health facility like those just mentioned.

 

What are STDs, anyway?

An STD is an infection passed from one individual to another through sexual contact. STDs can be spread via vaginal, anal or oral sex. Additionally, they can be spread from mother to child during birth or breastfeeding, blood transfusion and use of unsterilized needles. Immediately after noticing the symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease possibly surfacing, it's advisable to seek medical attention asap.

what is a sexually transmitted disease

 

Risk factors for STDs?

All sexually active people risk being exposed to sexually transmitted diseases at some point in time. Below are some factors which are likely to increase the risk:

Unprotected sex - having vaginal or anal sex without a latex condom with an infected person increases the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases. The risk can also increase due to inconsistent or improper condom use. Although oral sex can sometimes be less risky, the infection can also be transmitted.

Sexual contact with many partners - Those who have regular sexual contact with multiple partners have a higher risk of getting infected with STDs and vice versa.

Genetic history of STDs - If you have one STD, it's much easier to get another one.

Forceful sexual activity - some of the forceful sexual activities that increase the risk of getting STDs include rape and assault. However, it's essential to see a doctor for screening, treatment and further guidance in case of rape or assault occurs.

Drug abuse - In most cases, drugs cause impaired judgment which can lead to participation in risky sexual behaviors.

Drug injection - this involves the use of sharp needles which might spread severe infections including HIV, hepatitis B and C.

These are some of the top risk factors that can expose you to sexually transmitted diseases. Others include being young and men who use various drugs for erectile dysfunction also statistically get more sexually transmitted diseases, according to WebMD and other medical websites.

What are the std symptoms

What are the STD symptoms in men?

It's usually near impossible to have an STD without some symptoms showing up. Below are some common symptoms of STDs in men:

- Extreme pain during urination and sex

- Rashes, sores or bumps around the penis, anus, testicle, thighs, mouth, or buttocks

- Swollen testicles

- Unusual discharge

- Bloodstains from the penis

What are the STD symptoms in women?

STDs in women can sometimes go unnoticed. Below are some common symptoms of STDs in women:

- Pain during sex

- Unusual discharge from the vagina

- Vaginal itching

- Pain during urination

- Vaginal blisters

- Rashes around the genital area

The STD symptoms in both men and women can sometimes vary from one STD to the other.

 

What are the Types of STDs?

STD blood test results

STD blood and urine testing

  1. Chlamydia

It's caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It's a leading cause of most genital and eye diseases across the globe. According to a 2015 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 3% of girls between the age of 15 and 19 years had this STD. In most cases, women with chlamydia don't always show any symptoms. However, the symptoms of this STD include:

- Pain during sex

- Pain when urinating

- Yellow or green discharge from the vagina or penis

- Lower abdomen pain

- Pelvic pain

- Bleeding between periods

Note: If chlamydia isn't treated, it can result in infection in the bladder, testicles, urethra and prostate glands.

 

How to test for Chlamydia?

Chlamydia urine test

The testing and diagnosis of this STD is simple and involves the following:

* Urine test - a small sample of urine is tested and analyzed in the laboratory to detect any infection

* A swab - in women, the doctor will take a swab of the cervix discharge for the purpose of antigen and culture testing to determine if there's chlamydia infection or not. In men, a slim swab is inserted at the end of the penis to get a sample from the urethra.

If your results show no present infection, consider getting another test after 3 months.

  1. Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes

Its main cause is the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It affects the genitals, skin and cervix among other body parts. There are two types of genital herpes as follows:

  1. HSV-1 also called herpes type 1
  2. HSV-2 also called herpes type 2

It's a chronic condition that most people won't see any symptoms. It can be transmitted from one person to another via direct contact. Herpes-type 1 can be transmitted through sharing straws, surfaces and utensils. On the other hand, herpes type 2 can be transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex. The virus can stay for quite some time in the body without even noticing any symptoms. Below are the symptoms of genital herpes:

- Fever

- Pain when urinating

- Vaginal discharge

- Cold sores around your mouth especially in type 1HSV

- Blisters on the cervix

How do they test for Genital Herpes?

If you notice the above symptoms, you should see the doctor immediately. Doctors can visually identify a herpes infection through the herpes sores. However, although the sores might resemble those of other conditions, the doctor will go to the extent of undertaking laboratory tests. A blood test is usually done in this case.

3. Syphilis

Syphilis testing AkronIt's a bacterial infection that doesn't show any symptoms during its first stages. Syphilis affects the mucous membranes, genitals and skin. The signs of this STD occur in 4 different stages, namely primary, secondary, latent and tertiary stages.

  • Primary syphilis

This is the first stage of syphilis that occurs between 10days to 3 months after infection. The symptoms at this stage include a painless sore at the point of infection, usually the genitals, lips, tongue or rectum. The sore ends up healing without treatment.

  • Secondary syphilis

Here the symptoms start to show between the 3rd to 6th week after the appearance of chancre and include:

- Fever

- Skin rash

- Swollen lymph nodes

- Fatigue

- Soreness and aching

Note: These symptoms start disappearing after a few weeks without any treatment.

  • Latent syphilis

Note: This is a stage where there's no presence of symptoms. Here, the symptoms may disappear for good or the disease moves to its final stage.

  • Tertiary syphilis

Note: If the disease reaches this point without treatment, the bacteria starts to spread to other internal organs which can lead to death. Some symptoms of this stage include:

- Blindness

- Paralysis

- Numbness

- Lack of coordination

- Dementia

How do they test for Syphilis?

A blood test is usually done carried out by a health care provider. A blood sample is usually taken from your arm's vein using a needle. Since the advanced stages of syphilis can have negative effects on the brain and spinal cord, the doctor may further order a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) test.

4. HIV

HIV testing Cleveland

This STD attacks the immune system making it weaker and more vulnerable to other diseases and infections. This virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, breastfeeding, blood transfusion, sharing sharp objects like syringes and needles. The amount of virus can be reduced to low levels with the treatment. However, leaving HIV to progress in the third stage without treatment can be fatal.

The early symptoms of HIV include:

- Rashes

- Headache

- Fever

- Swollen lymph nodes

- Nausea

- Sore throat

- Headache

Some people may even develop symptoms which aren't specific such as fevers, headaches, stomach issues and recurring fatigue. The cure for this virus isn't yet there, although it can be managed. Early diagnosis and treatment can make one live, just like any other person without the disease.

How do they test for HIV?

In most cases, HIV is diagnosed through blood and saliva tests. There are various tests which can be used as follows:

  • Antibody screening test - it checks explicitly the availability of a certain protein that responds to an infection after 2-8 weeks.
  • Antibody/antigen combination tests - these tests are common and can detect HIV earlier compared to the antibody screening test. These tests check for a protein known as p24, which is part of the virus that appears between 2-4weeks of infection.
  • RNA test - this test finds the virus itself after 10days of infection. It's very expensive, although it's not always the first test.
  • In-Home test kits - today, there are in-home test kits which you can use at the comfort of your home.

 

5. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea medication

It's a bacterial infection that typically attacks the mucous membranes. It's very contagious and stays in the moister cavities of your body. Most women don't show symptoms of this STD. The bacteria can spread throughout the body quickly if no action is taken after infection. Its symptoms usually occur 2-10 days after infection. The symptoms of the disease include:

What symptoms do men with Gonorrhea have?

- Swelling and pain in testicles

- Pain during urination

- Yellow, green or white discharge from the penis

 

What symptoms do women with Gonorrhea have?

- Vulva swelling

- Conjunctivitis

- Pain during urination

- Pain in the pelvic region

- Bleeding between periods

How do they test for Gonorrhea?

In women, a sample is usually taken from the cervix. The health care provider uses a metal or plastic instrument known as a speculum to open up the vagina to ensure the cervix is visible. He or she then uses a plastic spatula or a soft brush to collect a sample.

In men, the provider takes a swab from the urethra opening. After getting the sample, it's analyzed to see if there's the presence of this STD.

 

 

6. Oral herpes

oral herpes

This STD is caused by herpes simplex virus. It causes some painful sores in the tongue, gums, lips and the mouth's roof. The virus is contracted through saliva. It shows some symptoms, although some people may fail to see even one. Some of its symptoms include:

- Pain and swelling in the affected area

- Redness in the infected area

- Painful blisters on the lips and nose

- Leaking fluid from the blisters

How do they test for Oral Herpes?

Due to the resemblance of oral herpes with many other diseases and allergic reactions, a blood test, virus culture or biopsy should be used to confirm its presence. However, the doctor may diagnose your problem depending on the appearance and location of your blisters.

 

 

7. Hepatitis A

Hepatitis testing ClevelandThis is a very contagious liver infection that is caused by hepatitis A virus. This virus isn't dangerous, like the other types. Hepatitis A causes liver inflammation. Below are some of its symptoms:

- Fever

- Loss of appetite

- Fatigue

- Diarrhea

- Nausea

- Jaundice

 

How do they test for Hepatitis A?

Your health care provider will directly suspect that you've got this disease if there are high levels of liver enzymes, and you've got the above symptoms. The two tests done to determine this are the IgM (immunoglobulin M) antibodies and the IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies. A blood sample is usually taken from your arm's vein and sent in the laboratory for any of the above tests.

 

8. Hepatitis B

It's caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This STD can be transmitted through infected blood, semen among other bodily fluids. Hepatitis B causes swelling and damage to the liver.

Almost half of the individuals infected with this STD show no symptoms and makes it hard to determine they're infected. Children are less likely to develop symptoms as compared to adults. The symptoms, however, start showing within 1 to 4 months after infection.

Below are the symptoms of hepatitis B:

- Vomiting and nausea

- Fatigue

- Loss of appetite

- Fever

- Jaundice

- Abdominal pain

- Dark urine

 

How do they test for Hepatitis B?

This STD can be diagnosed with blood tests. The test is used to detect any pieces of this virus in the antibodies fighting the virus, antigens and viral DNA. Most important, the HBV blood tests are usually done when there seems to be an abnormal liver functioning. Other tests include liver biopsy, ultrasound or CT scan.

 

 

  1. Hepatitis C

This is a serious liver infection that is caused by the hepatitis C virus and can result in complete liver damage. It's estimated that about 3.9 million USA residents have this disease. Hepatitis C comes in many forms, although type 1 is the common types in the US. Most people with this disease don't show any symptoms. However, after a period of 2 weeks to 6 months, the virus completely enters the bloodstream, and you'll notice the following symptoms:

- Loss of appetite

- Joint pain

- Nausea

- Stomach pain

- Vomiting

- Fatigue

- Clay-colored poop

- Dark urine

 

How do they test for Hepatitis C?

Your health care provider will begin by analyzing your blood for anti-HCV antibodies. Anti-HCV antibodies are the proteins the body makes after finding the presence of hepatitis C in the blood.

 

 

How do you prevent STDs?

STD protection

There are various ways of reducing the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases as follows:

  1. Abstain - this is the most effective way of preventing STDs.

2. Stay with a single uninfected partner.

3. Wait and test

4. Get vaccinated for some STDs such as hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.

5. Proper and consistent use of condoms.

6. Avoid the use of drugs.

7. Consider using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PreP).

 

Conclusion:

std testing akronIt's always advisable to seek medical attention and get STD screening and testing if you see any symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Of course, the wisest action to take if you don't want to risk getting an STD is by following the bullet points in the last paragraph. If you want to have sex with another person, protect yourself with a latex condom. In the case of using needles, DON'T reuse needles that someone else has used. Only use fresh needles and dispose of them properly so that no one else uses them and so that no one accidentally gets poked and infected. If the question of being infected with a sexually transmitted disease does comes up, use Google and type “Are there STD clinics near me” to find an STD testing location or screening center near you. Don't wait because some forms of STDs can become very serious, AND you could be infecting someone else.