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How is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) diagnosed?

STIs (sexually transmitted infections) are diagnosed using ears, eyes and lab tests. First your health provider will listen to your description of your symptoms; what they are, how long they have been bothering you and what you're sexual history and general health has been. Then s/he will look at the area that is bothering you; the blisters, the discharge, etc. Finally, there will be blood and/or urine samples and/or cultures taken for the lab to identify exactly which pathogen is the culprit. If it is possible to make an educated guess as to the culprit involved, your health provider may treat you right away on the assumption that he or she is right until the lab tests come back.

In most jurisdictions in North America, reporting STIs to Public Health is required. Someone from Public Health will contact you to get a list of your partners to make sure everyone you may have exposed gets tested. It’s all confidential and is essential since half the time STIs are symptomless.

Make sure you go back to your Health Care Provider for a test of cure. It is essential to know if the treatment worked and the pathogens are gone away before you pass this on to someone else.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.