STD Testing

Check for sexually transmitted diseases with STD testing from Ulta Lab Tests checks for STD infections using blood and urine lab tests.  Ulta Lab Tests provides reliable blood work and secure testing, so order today!    


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Chlamydia trachomatis RNA, TMA

Patient Preparation 

Urine specimens: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

Urine: Patient should not have urinated within one hour prior to collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen. Direct patient to provide a first-catch urine (a maximum of 20-30 mL of the initial urine stream) into a urine collection cup free of any preservatives. 2 mL of urine specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® specimen transport within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed. Use tube provided in the urine specimen collection kit for urine specimens. The fluid (urine plus transport media) level in the urine tube must fall within the clear pane on the tube labe

Clinical Significance

C. trachomatis infections are the leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases in the united states. C. trachomatis is known to cause cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymitis and proctitis. It is also the most frequent cause of non-gonococcal urethritis in men. Among women, the consequences of chlamydial infections are severe if left untreated. Approximately half of chlamydial infections are asymptomatic.


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Chlamydia/Neisseria gonorrhoeae RNA, TMA

Patient Preparation 

Urine specimen: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

Urine: Patient should not have urinated within one hour prior to collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen. Direct patient to provide a first-catch urine (a maximum of 20-30 mL of the initial urine stream) into a urine collection cup free of any preservatives. 2 mL of urine specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® specimen transport within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed. Use tube provided in the urine specimen collection kit for urine specimens. The fluid (urine plus transport media) level in the urine tube must fall within the clear pane on the tube label.

 

Clinical Significance

C. trachomatis infections are the leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. C. trachomatis is known to cause cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), epididymitis and proctitis. It is also the most frequent cause of non-gonococcal urethritis in men. Among women, the consequences of Chlamydialinfections are severe if left untreated. Approximately half of Chlamydial infections are asymptomatic.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococci) is the causative agent of gonorrhea. In men, this disease generally results in anterior urethritis accompanied by purulent exudate. In women, the disease is most often found in the cervix, but the vagina and uterus may also be infected.


Chlamydia trachomatis is associated with infections of the mucous membranes of the urogenital system, the upper respiratory tract, and the eye. In industrialized countries, C. trachomatis usually causes sexually transmitted disease. In developing countries, it is the major cause of preventable blindness (trachomatis). Sexually transmitted diseases caused by C. trachomatis include nongonococcal urethritis, cervicitis, salpingitis, epididymitis, proctitis and Lymphogranuloma venereum. Infections are often asymptomatic. Thus, infected individuals may unknowingly transmit chlamydial disease to others. Coinfection with C. trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae is common, with multiple chlamydial infections of the upper respiratory tract occurring primarily in newborns exposed at parturition through an infected birth canal. Approximately 10-20% of such infants develop pneumonia and 50% develop inclusion conjunctivitis. In adults, eye disease is often transmitted by the hands from genital secretions or from eye secretion of infected babies. Isolation in tissue culture remains the reference method for diagnosis of chlamydial infection, especially when testing individuals under the age of 13 years. The usefulness of serological tests depends on the site of infection, duration of disease, infecting serovars and pre-vious exposure to chlamydial antigens. Because C. trachomatis is ubiquitous, there is a high prevalence of antibodies in sexually active populations. Antibodies may persist even after treatment, making assessment of a single IgG titer difficult. Consequently, serological diag-nosis is seldom used to diagnose active, superficial genital tract infections.


CMV infections are common and usually asymptomatic. In patients who are immunocompromised, CMV may cause disseminated, severe disease. CMV may cause birth defects in a minority of infected newborns. Antibody IgG may represent prior exposure or recent infection if there is a significant change in titer between acute and convalescent specimens.

CMV infections are common and usually asymptomatic. In patients who are immunocompromised, CMV may cause disseminated, severe disease. CMV may cause birth defects in a minority of infected newborns.

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Neisseria gonorrhoeae RNA, TMA 

Patient Preparation 

Urine specimen: The patient should not have urinated for at least one hour prior to specimen collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen.

2 mL urine using APTIMA® Urine Specimen Collection Kit.

Alternative Specimen(s) 

Urine (no preservatives): 2 mL of urine, specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® Urine Transport Medium within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed • ThinPrep® vial • SurePath™ vial

Urine: Patient should not have urinated within one hour prior to collection. Female patients should not cleanse the labial area prior to providing the specimen. Direct patient to provide a first-catch urine (a maximum of 20-30 mL of the initial urine stream) into a urine collection cup free of any preservatives. 2 mL of urine specimen must be transferred into the APTIMA® specimen transport within 24 hours of collection and before being assayed. Use tube provided in the urine specimen collection kit for urine specimens. The fluid (urine plus transport media) level in the urine tube must fall within the clear pane on the tube label.

Transport Container 

APTIMA® Transport tube


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Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibody (HerpeSelect®) 

Tests for HSV 1 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB to diagnose HSV-1 infection when lesions are absent. A positive HSV-1 IgG antibody test indicates a previous infection.

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative 
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal 
  • >1.09 Positive 

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.


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Herpes Simplex Virus 1/2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies (HerpeSelect®) 

  1. HSV 1 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB
  2. HSV 2 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB

Diagnose HSV infection when lesions are absent; determine HSV type

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal
  • >1.09 Positive

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV Type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV Type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.


Most Popular

Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibody (HerpeSelect®) 

HSV 2 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB - Diagnose HSV-2 infection when lesions are absent.

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal
  • >1.09 Positive

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.


Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibody (HerpeSelect®) 

Tests for HSV 1 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB to diagnose HSV-1 infection when lesions are absent. A positive HSV-1 IgG antibody test indicates a previous infection.

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative 
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal 
  • >1.09 Positive 

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.


Herpes Simplex Virus 1/2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies (HerpeSelect®) 

  1. HSV 1 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB
  2. HSV 2 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB

Diagnose HSV infection when lesions are absent; determine HSV type

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal
  • >1.09 Positive

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV Type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV Type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.



Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibody (HerpeSelect®) 

HSV 2 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB - Diagnose HSV-2 infection when lesions are absent.

Reference Range(s)

Index Interpretation

  • <0.90 Negative
  • 0.90-1.09 Equivocal
  • >1.09 Positive

This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.

Limitations

Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.

Clinical Significance

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is responsible for several clinically significant human viral diseases, with severity ranging from inapparent to fatal. Clinical manifestations include genital tract infections, neonatal herpes, meningoencephalitis, keratoconjunctivitis, and gingivostomatitis. There are two HSV serotypes that are closely related antigenically. HSV type 2 is more commonly associated with genital tract and neonatal infections, while HSV type 1 is more commonly associated with infections of non-genital sites. Specific typing is not usually required for diagnosis or treatment. The mean time to seroconversion using the type specific assay is 25 days. The performance of this assay has not been established for use in a pediatric population, for neonatal screening, or for testing of immunocompromised patients.


Herpes Virus 6 DNA, Qualitative, Real-Time PCR 

HERPES VIRUS 6 DNA,QL REAL TIME PCR


HHV-6 is a distinct herpes virus that typically causes a self-limiting illness in patients who are not immunocompromised. In some patients, especially if immumocompromised, HHV-6 can cause febrile convulsions in infants, encephalitis mononucleosis-like symptoms, and hepatitis.


Histoplasma galactomannan is frequently detected in urine from patients with disseminated histoplasmosis.

Clinical Significance

Assists in evaluating helper and suppressor cell immune status in immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS.


RPR (Diagnosis) with Reflex to Titer and Confirmatory Testing

IMPORTANT:  NOTE THIS IS A REFLUX TEST - The price charged for this test is only for the RPR. ADDITIONAL CHARGES WILL OCCUR FOR THE REFLUX TO TITER AND CONFIRMATION TESTING .

Clinical Significance

This is a non-treponemal screening test for syphilis. False positive results may occur due to systemic lupus erythematosus, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy. Monitoring of RPR is helpful in assessing effectiveness of therapy.

Limitations

False-positive results have been associated in patients with infections, pregnancy, autoimmune disease, old age, Gaucher disease, and malignancy.

Alternative Name(s) 

Premarital RPR,Syphilis Serology Screen, Blood,ART,Rapid Plasma Reagin,Automated Reagin Test


RPR (Monitor) with Reflex to Titer 

Reference Range(s)

  • Non-Reactive

Clinical Significance

This is a non-treponemal screening test for syphilis. False positive results may occur due to systemic lupus erythematosus, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy. Monitoring of RPR is helpful in assessing effectiveness of therapy.

IMPORTANT

A positive RPR screen must be followed by a specific treponemal antibody test (e.g., FTA-ABS):

A positive result on the second method confirms the screening result and the affected person is diagnosed with syphilis.

A negative result on the treponemal test may mean that the initial RPR test was falsely positive. Further testing and investigation may be done to determine the cause of the false positive.

Limitations

False-positive results have been associated in patients with infections, pregnancy, autoimmune disease, old age, Gaucher disease, and malignancy.

Alternative Name(s) 

Syphilis


Most Popular
Rubella is an acute exanthematous viral infection of children and adults. Rash, fever and lymphadenopathy characterize the illness. While many infections are subclinical, this virus has the potential to cause fetal infection with resultant birth defects. Diagnosis of a Rubella infection is best made serologically. In the absence of a current or recent infection, a demonstration of specific IgG on a serum sample is evidence of immunity to Rubella.

Syphilis (RPR + FTA-ABS)

  • FTA-ABS - Treponema pallidum Ab (Confirmation for Syphilis RPR test).
  • Syphilis RPR ( RPR (Monitor) with Reflex to Titer)

FTA-ABS - Treponema pallidum Ab

Clinical Significance

The FTA-ABS is a specific treponemal assay to detect antibody to t. Pallidum. The FTA-ABS becomes reactive 4-6 weeks after infection. Unlike the nontreponemal tests, once the FTA-ABS test becomes reactive, it will remain reactive for many years. Since the reactivity found with the FTA-ABS does not indicate response to therapy, it is not suitable for monitoring treatment. The FTA-ABS test does not distinguish between syphillis and other treponematoses such as yaws, pinta and bejil.

The treponemal antibody test (FTA-ABS) is often used as an initial test. A positive result indicates the presence of syphilis antibodies in the blood, but since treponemal antibodies remain positive even after an infection has been treated, it does not indicate whether the person has a current infection or was infected in the past. Conversely, nontreponemal antibodies as detected with an RPR typically disappear in an adequately treated person after about 3 years. Thus, if an initial treponemal test is positive, an RPR can be performed to differentiate between an active or past infection. In this case, a positive RPR would confirm that the person has been exposed to syphilis and, if not treated previously, has an active infection or, if treatment had occurred more than 3 years ago, possible re-infection.

Alternative Name(s) 

Treponemal pallidum, Fluorescent Treponemal Antigen, Syphilis

 

Syphilis RPR ( RPR (Monitor) with Reflex to Titer)

Reference Range(s)

Non-Reactive

Clinical Significance

This is a non-treponemal screening test for syphilis. False positive results may occur due to systemic lupus erythematosus, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy. Monitoring of RPR is helpful in assessing effectiveness of therapy.

IMPORTANT

A positive RPR screen and a positive result on the FTA-ABS confirms the screening result and the affected person is diagnosed with syphilis.

A negative result on the treponemal test may mean that the initial RPR test was falsely positive. Further testing and investigation may be done to determine the cause of the false positive.

Limitations

False-positive results have been associated in patients with infections, pregnancy, autoimmune disease, old age, Gaucher disease, and malignancy.

Alternative Name(s) 

Syphilis


Syphilis FTA-ABS (Confirmation for Syphilis RPR test)

FTA-ABS - Treponema pallidum Ab

Clinical Significance

The FTA-ABS is a specific treponemal assay to detect antibody to t. Pallidum. The FTA-ABS becomes reactive 4-6 weeks after infection. Unlike the nontreponemal tests, once the FTA-ABS test becomes reactive, it will remain reactive for many years. Since the reactivity found with the FTA-ABS does not indicate response to therapy, it is not suitable for monitoring treatment. The FTA-ABS test does not distinguish between syphillis and other treponematoses such as yaws, pinta and bejil.

The treponemal antibody test (FTA-ABS) is often used as an initial test. A positive result indicates the presence of syphilis antibodies in the blood, but since treponemal antibodies remain positive even after an infection has been treated, it does not indicate whether the person has a current infection or was infected in the past. Conversely, nontreponemal antibodies as detected with an RPR typically disappear in an adequately treated person after about 3 years. Thus, if an initial treponemal test is positive, an RPR can be performed to differentiate between an active or past infection. In this case, a positive RPR would confirm that the person has been exposed to syphilis and, if not treated previously, has an active infection or, if treatment had occurred more than 3 years ago, possible re-infection.

Alternative Name(s) 

Treponemal pallidum, Fluorescent Treponemal Antigen, Syphilis


Syphilis RPR ( RPR (Monitor) with Reflex to Titer)

Reference Range(s)

Non-Reactive

Clinical Significance

This is a non-treponemal screening test for syphilis. False positive results may occur due to systemic lupus erythematosus, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy. Monitoring of RPR is helpful in assessing effectiveness of therapy.

IMPORTANT

A positive RPR screen must be followed by a specific treponemal antibody test (e.g., FTA-ABS):

A positive result on the second method confirms the screening result and the affected person is diagnosed with syphilis.

A negative result on the treponemal test may mean that the initial RPR test was falsely positive. Further testing and investigation may be done to determine the cause of the false positive.

Limitations

False-positive results have been associated in patients with infections, pregnancy, autoimmune disease, old age, Gaucher disease, and malignancy.

Alternative Name(s) 

Syphilis


The Tissue Plasminogen Activator assay is used to detect disorders of the fibrinolytic system.

TORCH Panel

  • Cytomegalovirus Antibody (IgG)
  • Cytomegalovirus Antibody (IgM)
  • Herpes Simplex Virus 1/2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies (HerpeSelect®)
  • Rubella Immune Status
  • Toxoplasma Antibody (IgG)

TORCH is an acronym for a group of infectious diseases that can cause illness in pregnant women and may cause birth defects in their newborns. The TORCH panel is a group of blood tests that detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to these infections. Confirmation of an active infection may require more specific tests.

The following tests make up the TORCH panel: Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes simplex virus.

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that can be passed from mother to baby through the placenta during pregnancy. An infection with Toxoplasma gondii can cause eye and central nervous system infections as well as brain and muscle cysts. If acquired during the pregnancy, it may result in a miscarriage or cause birth defects, though this depends on the time during the pregnancy when the infection was acquired by the mother. Toxoplasmosis is acquired by ingesting the parasite when handling the stool of infected cats, drinking unpasteurized goat's milk, and, most commonly, by eating contaminated meat.

Rubella is the virus that causes German measles. If contracted early in the pregnancy, an infant may develop heart disease, retarded growth, hearing loss, blood disorders, vision problems, or pneumonia. Problems that may develop during childhood include central nervous system disease, immune disorders, or thyroid disease.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is another viral infection that a mother may have acquired. More than half of all American adults have been infected with CMV at some point in their life and, in most cases, it does not cause severe illness. However, it may pass to a baby during the birth process and can also infect newborns through breast milk. Infected infants may have severe problems, such as hearing loss, vision problems, mental retardation, pneumonia, and seizures.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common viral infection. The two most common infections with HSV are "cold sores" affecting the lips and genital herpes. Both of these infections can recur. HSV is most commonly acquired through oral or genital contact. Newborns who contract the virus usually do so during travel through the birth canal of a woman who has a genital infection with HSV. The virus may spread throughout the newborn's body, attacking vital organs. Treatment with specific antiviral medication should begin as soon as possible in the infected newborn. Even if treated, surviving babies may have permanent damage to their central nervous system.



Sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. have reached an all-time high since 2015! There were approximately 2.6 million cases of STDs in 2019 in the U.S. More than 1.8 million cases of Chlamydia, 129,813 cases of Syphilis, and 616,329 cases of gonorrhea were reported.

Are you taking steps to protect yourself? Are you safe?

In this piece, you'll learn everything you need to know about screening methods and the top tests a patient can ask for STDs. In addition, you'll learn what each STD is and the possible symptoms and signs for each.

Don't hesitate! Continue reading to discover what STD tests you can ask for today for a safer tomorrow.

What Are STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections spread from one individual to another, generally by sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral). Some common examples of STDs are Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Herpes 1, and Syphilis.

While anyone can become infected with an STD, you're at a higher risk if:

  • You don't use a condom
  • You have sex with a person who has had several partners
  • You share needles
  • You have multiple sex partners
  • You trade sex for money or drugs

STDs are widespread, and many people who have them rarely have any symptoms. Besides, some STDs, such as HIV, don't have a cure. Regardless, getting tested is essential.

Why Get Tested?

If you have an infection or disease, you'll have symptoms, right? Not always.

Many STDs out there don't have symptoms, and without treatment, they can lead to serious health issues. But the good news is that getting tested for STDs is not a big deal, and most sexually transmitted diseases are easy to treat, so it's best to be informed and ask for these tests.

1. Chlamydia

This is a prevalent (but curable) sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterial infection. Chlamydia affects the cervix in women and the penile urethra in men. Often it doesn't have symptoms, but it's easy to treat once diagnosed.  

Possible symptoms for men:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Testicular pain and swelling

Possible symptoms for women:

  • Burning during urination
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

The most effective way to prevent Chlamydia is to abstain from sexual intercourse (oral, virginal, and anal). For sexually active people, the best way to stay Chlamydia free is to maintain a monogamous relationship with a person who has no STDs. Of course, regularly practice safe sex, i.e., use condoms.

Again, since Chlamydia rarely shows any symptoms, it's crucial to ask your physician for tests. If you're not comfortable talking to your doctor about STDs, visit a testing center near you.

Testing for Chlamydia

A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will provide you with a urine collection cup to provide 20-30 ml of urine for testing.

2. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is another extremely common STD, with over 600,000 cases in 2019 (up 56% from 2015).

If not treated, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and an increase in HIV. Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to infertility, among many other health problems.

Possible symptoms in men:

    • A white, green, or yellow discharge
    • Painful or burning urination
    • Swollen testicles

Possible symptoms for women:

    • Increased vaginal discharge
    • Bleeding between your period
    • Painful or burning urination

Testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

It's highly recommended that you get tested yearly for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if:

    • You're under 25
    • You have HIV
    • You've been forced to engage in sex without consent
    • You're a man who has sex with men
    • You're over 25 and sexually active with multiple sex partners

Again, it's always best to get tested regularly to be aware if you have any STDs or not. But getting tested regularly is even more critical if you fall under either of the categories above.

How it's performed: A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will provide you with a urine collection cup to provide 20-30 ml of urine for testing.

3. HIV

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV damages your immune system by destroying a type of white blood cell that helps your body fight infections.

Transmission: HIV spreads in different ways, including through vaginal secretions, semen, breast milk, and contact with the blood of a person with HIV. While HIV is not curable, it is treated by drugs commonly known as HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) or CART (combined antiretroviral therapy).

These drugs make HIV a manageable chronic condition and reduce the chances of HIV reaching its final stage and causing AIDS. They also reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. Some early symptoms of HIV include:

    • Thrush (fungal infection of the mouth)
    • Sore throat
    • Diarrhea
    • Feeling tired
    • Fever
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Rash
    • Night sweats
    • Ulcer on mouth or genitals
    • Headaches

The above symptoms can show 1-2 months after transmission but can appear as soon as 2 weeks after infection. Some people don't experience any symptoms, and you can have no symptoms for a decade without knowing you have HIV.

While women and men experience many similar symptoms, some women may experience abnormal signs such as pap smears showing cervical dysplasia. Women with HIV can have PID as well. If you experience continual or severe vaginal infections, they could also be signs and symptoms of HIV.

Men with HIV can experience an ulcer on the penis.

Testing for HIV

The only way to be 100% sure you're HIV-free is to get tested.

How it's done: A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will perform a blood draw on you and send the specimen into a national testing laboratory for testing.

Note: If you're concerned about privacy, anonymous and confidential testing is available at many health centers.

The Difference Between HIV and AIDS

Often confused to be one and the same, there are differences between HIV and AIDS.

First, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, also known as stage 3 HIV. Thanks to different treatment options, people with HIV do not always have AIDS and can lead long and healthy lives.

HIV is the virus that causes immune system deterioration by destroying T cells or CD4 cells that help protect the body from infections. Once contracted, your immune system can't fight off infections the way it should. HIV can be managed through medication, but there's no cure.

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the disease caused by the damage that HIV does to your immune system. The symptoms of AIDS can vary from one person to another depending on the infections a patient develops from having a damaged immune system.

AIDs is the most severe stage of HIV, and it leads to death over time. Keep in mind that HIV doesn't always lead to AIDS, and early detection coupled with taking the proper treatment can help prevent that.

Protecting Against HIV

    • Get tested for HIV (It's the only way to be 100% sure you have HIV or not. Then if you have HIV, you can get the proper treatment to reduce the risk of spreading to others and take precautions against it turning into AIDS)
    • Always use condoms for sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal, and anal)
    • Practice less risky sexual behaviors, such as limiting the number of sexual partners you have
    • Don't use or share needles. You can find needle exchange locations near you if necessary.
    • Getting tested and treated for STDs
    • Be cautious when handling blood and assume that any blood could be infectious. Use barriers or wear gloves for protection against touching or handling blood.

4. Herpes

Herpes is a common viral STD that comes in two forms: HSV-1 and HSV-2.

When people get a cold sore, that's what's referred to as HSV-1

HSV-1 (herpes simplex type 1) usually makes sores pop up on and around your mouth and lips. On the other hand, HSV-2 (herpes simplex type 2) often causes genital sores. It is possible to transfer herpes through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, meaning you can spread herpes from the genitals to the mouth and the other way around as well.

There's no cure for HSV, but symptoms are manageable with antiviral drugs

Many people don't know when they're infected with herpes or mistake sores caused by the virus for something else. You can transfer herpes even when you don't have any sores or symptoms.

Always wearing a condom during sex can lower the chances of giving herpes to other people, but it's not 100% effective. Outbreaks can be sparked by both internal and external triggers, including illness, stress, or trauma.  

HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes and spreads through the transfer of saliva, herpes sores, vaginal fluid, semen, and blisters. You can get herpes simplex type 1 from kissing, sharing drinks, or having oral sex with a person who has the virus.

HSV-2 usually causes genital herpes and is transferred through semen, vaginal fluid, and skin-to-skin contact with mucous membranes. If you have herpes simplex type 2, you can experience lesions and painful blisters on the genitals, anus, and upper thighs.

Before sores or blisters appear, you can experience fever, body aches, or tingling and pain in your genitals, hips, legs, as well as swollen lymph nodes.

Herpes Symptoms Men vs. Women

When herpes symptoms show, they can first occur about 2 weeks after exposure. In men, blisters or sores appear on the penis and appear on thighs, scrotum, and buttocks.

Some men can also experience difficulty and pain urinating, swollen lymph nodes in the groin and pelvis region, and have discharge from the urinary tube.

For women, herpes sores can pop up on the labia majora (outer lips), the entrance of the vagina, and the labia minora (inner lips). You can also have blisters on the thighs, clitoris, buttocks, or anus. Some women may also experience watery discharge from the vagina.

Some women who experience herpes symptoms can have a yeast infection as well. Herpes outbreaks that recur in women can be due to menstruation, exposure to sunlight, pregnancy, and not eating healthy.

Testing for Herpes

The only way to be 100% certain if you have herpes or not is to get tested.

How it's done: A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will perform a blood draw on you and send the specimen into a national testing laboratory for testing.

5. Syphilis

Syphilis is an STD caused by bacterial infection. While it is easy to cure with antibiotic medication, left untreated, it can cause significant and permanent complications. Syphilis is spread by having direct contact with syphilis sores which can be on the genitals or mouth. That means it can be transferred through oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse.

Condoms go a long way in reducing the risk, but they do not entirely eliminate the risk of spreading Syphilis. Syphilis causes small and painless sores, which can heal on their own, so you might not know if you have it. But you'll still be infected. Syphilis can easily be treated and cured with antibiotic medication if you treat it early. 

Men and women with Syphilis often experience the same symptoms. For men, a small ulcer that is small, reddish-brown, and flat may pop up in the anus, on the mouth, and genitals. For women, the ulcer can pop up inside the vagina. These ulcers are usually painless and have no odor.

Syphilis Testing

How the test is done: A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will perform a blood draw on you and send the specimen into a national testing laboratory for testing.

6. Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a common STD caused by a parasite and is often misdiagnosed by women as bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection since the symptoms can be similar. Some symptoms for Trichomoniasis in women include:

    • Strong vaginal odor
    • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
    • Irritation, itching, soreness, or burning of the vagina and vulva
    • Painful urination

Most men who get Trichomoniasis do not have symptoms. If they do, they may include:

    • Discharge from penis
    • Burning after ejaculation or urination
    • Irritation or itching inside the penis

If you have this STD, you'll want your partner to get tested and treated, so they don't transfer it back to you.

Trichomoniasis Testing

How it is performed: Your healthcare provider will take a swab sample of your genital area and send it to a national testing laboratory for testing.

7. Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an infection composed of Hepatitis A, B, or C. It is spread through different modes, but all can cause liver disease. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, but so can Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A is spread through food and can cause jaundice and fever.

You can protect yourself by using condoms and getting a Hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis is curable, and the only way to be sure if you have hepatitis is to get tested.

Testing for Hepatitis

How it is performed: A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will perform a blood draw on you and send the specimen into a national testing laboratory for testing.

Get STD Screening with Ulta Lab Tests

Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is important! It's the first step to taking proper precautions to protect yourself from contracting them and feeling better if you have symptoms. And many STDs don't always have signs and symptoms, so getting an STD screen is crucial.

Protect yourself and your partner, too. Get the facts with an STD scan. STD tests are quick and easy with Ulta Lab Tests.

Ulta Lab tests provides accurate and reliable tests so that you can make informed decisions regarding your health. Here’s some of the benefits patients love about Ulta Lab Tests:

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Order your tests with Ulta Lab Tests and get your results back within 24-48 hours of having your specimen collected for most tests.

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Tests:

STDs And HIV Frequently Asked Questions

Are STDs associated with HIV?

You are more likely to contract HIV or transmit the disease to other sexual partners if you have an STD.

People in the U.S. who have syphilisherpes, or gonorrhea often also have HIV or are at a higher risk of getting HIV.

Why does having STDs put you at higher risk for contracting HIV?

Having an STD puts you at a higher risk of getting HIV because the same circumstances and behaviors that may put you at risk for STDs also can put you at greater risk of getting HIV. Additionally, when STDs result in breaks in the skin or sores, HIV may enter your body more easily. For these two reasons, it is more likely that you will get HIV if you have an STD.

It is highly recommended to get tested regularly for both HIV and STDs if you are sexually active. Even if you aren’t experiencing any of the symptoms of an STD/HIV or if you are having sex with only one partner, get tested.

Which activities can increase the risk of getting both STDs and HIV?

  • Not using a condom while having oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
  • Having more than one sex partner.
  • Having sex with anonymous people.
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to lower inhibitions, which can lead to taking greater sexual risks.

How Can I Avoid getting an STD or HIV?

There is only one way to be 100% sure that you can’t get HIV or an STD, and that is to abstain from all sexual activity, which means no oral, vaginal or anal sex. However, there are some steps that you can take to lower your chances of contracting these diseases if you choose to be sexually active:

  • Choose sexual activities that are less risky.
  • Wear a new condom or insist that your partner wears a new condom for each oral, vaginal, or anal sexual act throughout the entire act.
  • Reduce the number of sexual partners.
  • Don’t drink or use drugs that affect your decision-making behavior regarding sex.
  • Talk openly and honestly with a healthcare provider and get tested for HIV and STDs regularly.
  • Ask your healthcare provider whether pre (PrEP) or post-exposure (PEP) prophylaxis may be a good option for you.

If I already have HIV and get an STD, does this increase the risk of transmitting HIV to my sexual partner(s)?

Getting infected with an STD can increase the risk of transmitting HIV to your sex partner(s). You can lower the risk by taking the following steps:

  • Get treated for your HIV with antiretroviral therapy (ART) and make sure that you stay on the medication. Taking HIV medication can reduce the viral load or the amount of the virus that is present in your bloodstream. In fact, ART’s can reduce a viral load to such an extent that it becomes undetectable in HIV tests. If you have an undetectable viral load, it is much less likely that you will transmit HIV to your sexual partners. However, it is important to note that an undetectable viral load does not mean that you are cured.
  • Engage in less risky sexual activities.
  • Always use a new condom for each oral, vaginal, or anal sex act and wear the condom throughout the act from the beginning to the end. 
  • Your sexual partner may want to consider taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and discuss this with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if this is a suitable option. PrEP is highly effective at reducing the risk of contracting HIV when taken daily. Inconsistently taking the prophylactic treatment lowers the efficacy. Be aware that PrEP is not intended to prevent the transmission of other STDs and, therefore, still use condoms.

Will STD treatment stop me from getting HIV?

The answer is No. Treatment for STDs is primarily to help prevent complications and the transmission of the disease to other sexual partners. Treatment for an STD is different from the treatment for HIV and therefore, will not prevent spreading HIV. STD treatment is not sufficient to prevent HIV. If you have been diagnosed with an STD, talk to your healthcare provider or doctor about how to prevent getting reinfected with the same STD, or getting HIV.

Where can I get more information regarding STDs and HIV?

HIV/AIDS and STDs

www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)

www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

www.cdc.gov/std

CDC-INFO Contact Center

1-800-CDC-INFO

(1-800-232-4636)

https://wwwn.cdc.gov/dcs/

CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN)

https://npin.cdc.gov/disease/stds

American Sexual Health Association (ASHA)

http://www.ashasexualhealth.org

P. O. Box 13827

Research Triangle Park, NC

27709-3827

919-361-8488

Content source: Division of STD PreventionNational Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention

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