Hi @Nurse_Nettie. I was having a chat with a friend last night who wants to get at STI test and I mentioned that when I had one it was just a pee in a cup. But she’s had one in the past and it was a blood test. I just wondered how it all works and what the difference is?
Hi @ekoorb9, this is an important question to ask! You’re right as different STI tests are for different infections so it needs explaining. Blood tests can check for one or more infections like Syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis A & B. It may sound like a lot, but it’s only one tube collected. Urine (pee) tests check for Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea. Depending on the sex you have, Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea may be tested by vaginal or anus (bum) swabs too.
A full sexual health screen usually includes blood & urine tests & sometimes swabs. The good news is that the swabs can be collected yourself. That means when you don’t have symptoms, you can skip the examination.
If you do have symptoms, it’s a different situation & other tests might be taken for herpes or mycoplasma genitalium, for example. The bottom line (pardon the pun!) is to ask your doctor or nurse what tests they recommend 🙂
As a gay man, I believe I’m part of a more “at risk” or sensitive population, and depending on the number of sexual partners they usually recommend to get tested every 3 months. I get the throat and bum swabs, urine test and blood tests, so I feel like that covered a pretty comprehensive test for everything. One time I got a penile swab though, where the doctor had to put the swab into the tip of my urethra – now that was a particularly uncomfortable experience. Fortunately I think that whatever that was a test for can now be covered by the urine test so I’ve never had it again. @Nurse_Nettie would there ever be any pressed need for a penile swab for an STI test, by current standards?
@peachy and @HoneyPot Throat swabs for chlamydia & gonorrhoea aren’t standard for all sexually active people because research shows that there isn’t much infection there. It’s okay to ask for one though if you think you might be at risk or ask your clinician why it is or isn’t recommended for you.
@MintMilano penile swabs used to be much more common, but we now have urine tests that work just as well so they’re usually not necessary. However, if you’re having symptoms like discharge from the penis, your clinician may want to take a sample to view under the microscope while you’re there or put on a culture plate to check antibiotic sensitivities.