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How can I get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI)?

There is no one test for all STIs. Ask your doctor about getting tested for STIs. She or he can tell you what test(s) you might need and how it is done. Testing for STIs is also called STI screening. Testing (or screening) for STIs can involve:

Pelvic and physical exam - your doctor can look for signs of infection, such as warts, rashes, discharge. Blood sample Urine sample Fluid or tissue sample - a swab is used to collect a sample that can be looked at under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing.

These methods are used for many kinds of tests. So if you have a pelvic exam and Pap test, for example, don't assume that you have been tested for STIs. Pap testing is mainly used to look for cell changes that could be cancer or precancer. Although a Pap test sample also can be used to perform tests for HPV, doing so isn't routine. And a Pap test does not test for other STIs. If you want to be tested for STIs, including HPV, you must ask.

You can get tested for STIs at your doctor's office or a clinic. But not all doctors offer the same tests. So it's important to discuss your sexual health history to find out what tests you need and where you can go to get tested.

This answer is based on source information from National Women's Health Information Center.

Angela Lowery
Family Medicine

You can get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI) by contacting your health care provider or your local health department. There is no one test for all sexually transmitted infections.

Go to your personal health care provider, a publicly funded clinic or public health unit. There are also anonymous testing clinics for HIV testing. What type of test needs to be done (blood or swabs) depends on the STI. If you are after peace of mind testing because of multiple partners, get tested for everything.

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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.