By Sarah Derubeis, MSN, FNP-C
Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs) often have no symptoms but can lead to chronic health conditions if left undiagnosed or untreated. That’s why it is so important to get tested at least once and on a regular basis if you are more at risk due to multiple sexual partners or unprotected sex.
NOAH healthcare provider and STD, STI, and HIV expert Sarah DeRubeis, MSN, FNP-C, gives answers to commonly asked questions about prevention, testing, and treatment.
Q. How does NOAH test for STDs, STIs and HIV?
A. To test for all STDs, STIs, and HIV, you will need a visual exam, blood draw and urine analysis; all of which can be performed at any NOAH health center.
Q. Is there one test for everything or does someone need to request to be tested for each disease specifically?
A. Each test can be ordered individually. However, most providers order a full panel for patients who have had an exposure or are wanting a screening for STDs, STIs, and HIV.
Q. Is an appointment required?
A. An appointment is required with a health care provider to get an order for STD, STI and HIV testing.
Q. How much does testing cost?
A. There is typically no cost to the patient if the testing is completed as part of a visit with a NOAH healthcare provider.
Q. How long does it take to get results?
A. Timing of results varies based on the type of test. Results for Rapid HIV testing are usually available in as little as 20 minutes. The STD and STI testing with urine and blood can take two to three business days to report and a skin biopsy can take up to seven days.
Q. Who should get tested and how often?
A. Every patient who is sexually active or otherwise at risk should get tested for STDs, STIs and HIV. NOAH providers recommend patients get tested yearly or before engaging in sexual activity with new partners. Even if you don’t have risk factors, it’s a good idea to get tested at least once.
Q. What are typical treatments if someone tests positive?
A. Most STDs, STIs and even HIV can be treated or even cured with prescription medication. Getting tested and diagnosed is the first step in treating the issue AND preventing it from spreading to others.
Q. If someone tests positive for an STD, STI, or HIV and is treated elsewhere, is it important to share this info with their NOAH health care provider?
A. STD, STI, and HIV testing, diagnosis, and treatment should always be reported to your healthcare provider. This information should be provided as part of your standard health history questionnaire which is completed at your first appointment.
Q. What are the best ways to prevent STDs, STIs, and HIV?
A. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends all individuals who are sexually active protect themselves and others from exposure to STDs, STIs, and HIV. Prevention methods include testing regularly for STDs, STIs, and HIV, using condoms or choosing not to have sex, and refraining from any other risky behavior. There are also vaccines available for human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B. To reduce the risk of contracting HIV, patients should also consider taking daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) HIV prevention medication.
We encourage you to discuss STD, STI, and HIV testing and prevention with your NOAH healthcare provider. Learn even more about awareness, prevention, and testing for STDs, STIs and HIV in this informative article.