If you are sexually active, it’s important to get tested regularly for a sexually transmitted disease (STD), whether or not you are experiencing any symptoms.
Read below to learn how STD tests work, common STD symptoms, and where you can locate free STD/STI testing.
Sensitivity vs. Specificity
The accuracy of a test is based on its sensitivity (ability to pick up positives) and specificity (ability to eliminate negatives). A test’s accuracy is measured in those two values.
The positive rate (or the sensitivity) is the percentage of time a test correctly detects an STD infection. The false rate (or the specificity) is the percentage of time that a test reports an infection incorrectly.
If a test advertises a 98% accuracy rate, this means that out of 100 people who are tested, two will receive a false positive, which means the positive test is incorrect. So sensitivity is the true metric to measure by, since it gives the true positive rate of a test.
For two of the most common types of STDs, chlamydia and gonorrhea, the tests boast up to 99% accuracy, depending on the type of test that you use (urine vs bacterial testing).
When Should I Take a Test?
If you are pregnant (STDs can cause complications), sexually active, or do not use a barrier method during intercourse, then the CDC highly recommends STD testing, since those infected do not always display symptoms.
Additionally, the CDC recommends an annual screening for all sexually active women younger than 25 years to be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia, or for women over the age of 25 who have a new partner (or multiple) sex partners.
Symptoms can include:
- abdominal pain
- itchiness and redness around the genital area
- unusual discharge
- sores or warts in the genital area
If you have any of these symptoms or think you may have an STD, it’s important to get tested as soon as you can.
Where Can I Get an STD Test?
If you’ve been sexually active recently and are unsure if you have an STD/STI, the first step is to receive testing through your local pregnancy clinic. At Mosaic Health, we provide free testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea (two of the most common types of STDs), as well as referrals for further testing and treatment.
It’s very important for your own health to confirm if you have an STD as well as for the sake of your partner and pregnancy, if applicable. We offer no-cost tests and a judgment-free zone to discuss your options and resources. Contact us today!