FAQ

? What is an STD?

An STD (sexually transmitted disease) is an infective disease primarily transmitted through sexual contact. STDs are caused by around 30 kinds of viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can be passed on from person to person and sometimes, through contact with contaminated surfaces. Some of the most common STDs are AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

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? What is the difference between an STI and an STD?

STI stands for sexually transmitted infection while STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. Once a person contracts an STI, there are two possible scenarios: the infection may clear up or it may cause the development of an STD. For example, a person can get infected with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which can lead to the development of genital warts or even various kinds of cancer, most prominently, cervical cancer. However, the disease (STD) only develops in case the infection (STI) persists.

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? What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

HIV is an abbreviation that stands for human immunodeficiency virus. Thus, HIV is a virus that can cause an infection and attack the human immune system. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is a condition that develops once HIV has caused considerable damage to the immune system of the infected individual. Therefore, AIDS is a medical condition caused by HIV, but not all people with HIV acquire AIDS. Once a person gets infected with HIV, the virus stays in that person’s body for the rest of his or her life and there is always a chance that it will cause the development of AIDS. To this day, scientists have not found a cure for AIDS, but they have discovered ways to successfully control the condition.

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? Are STDs common in the US?

According to the estimates of The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, every year, there are around 20 million new STD cases in the US, with half of the patients belonging to the age group between 15 and 24 years of age. In 2016, the number of new STD cases in the US hit an all-time high and the figures just keep on rising. What is more, at any given time, there are more than 110 million infections across the country.

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? What is the most common STD for women?

Women in the US most frequently suffer from chlamydia. The most common STI for women is HPV.

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? What is the most common STD for men?

The most common STD in men is nongonococcal urethritis, usually caused by chlamydia. Just like in women, the most common STI is HPV. While not as common as chlamydia and HPV, syphilis is particularly common among men, especially those of gay and bisexual orientation, with men making up almost 90% of all syphilis cases in the US.
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? Are all STDs curable?

While the majority of STDs are curable, there are some STDs that cannot be cured as of yet, including AIDS, oral herpes, genital herpes, and chronic hepatitis B and C.
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? Can STDs be spread with anal or oral sex?

Yes, they can. In fact, practicing unprotected anal and oral sex puts you at high risk of contracting an STD. According to the statistics provided by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, bisexual and gay men make up the majority of individuals suffering from syphilis in the US.
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? Can I get an STD from a public toilet?

While it is theoretically possible, it is highly unlikely. Microorganisms that cause STIs and consequently STDs cannot survive for long on such surfaces and normally prefer a human carrier. While it may be possible to get infected through a fresh cut located on the part of your body that touches the freshly contaminated surface or if you do not wash your hands, this hardly ever happens.
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? Should I get tested if I am monogamous?

Yes, because your partner may be asymptomatic but still carrying an infection and also because there are several non-sexual ways to get infected.
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? Should I get tested if I am a virgin?

Yes, because STDs are not only transmitted with sexual intercourse.
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? How do I know if I have an STD?

Some of the most common noticeable symptoms in both men and women include painful urination, redness, irritation, and swelling around the genitals, bumps, warts, and sores around the mouth, anus, and genitals, discharge from the genitals, and skin rashes. However, some STDs are quiet diseases and may not result in any noticeable symptoms for a long time.
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? Is it possible to get infected if your partner doesn’t have any symptoms?

Many people who suffer from STDs are asymptomatic. Therefore, your partner may carry and spread an infection even if he or she does not have any observable symptoms.
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? How do I know if I am at risk of getting an STD?

People who have unprotected sex with a number of different partners are at higher risk of getting an STD than people in monogamous relationships, those who practice safe sex or individuals who are not sexually active. However, since sexual intercourse is not the only way to get an STD, everyone is at a varying risk of getting infected and suffering from a sexually transmitted disease at some point in their lives. That is why regular testing is crucial for maintaining optimal sexual and overall health.
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? Can I have an STD without knowing it?

Unfortunately, yes. Some of the most common STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, often cause no symptoms but can cause serious problems if they go untreated.
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? Can I get the same STD more than once?

This is one of the common misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases. The truth is that there are some bacterial and parasitic STDs that you can get more than once, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, crabs, and many others.
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? Is it possible to get an STD without having sex?

This may sound counterintuitive, but STDs are nonexclusively transmitted through sexual intercourse. Kissing puts you at risk of such STDs like herpes and mononucleosis, it is possible to get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food, herpes and HPV can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, and various viral infections could be spread by sharing sheets, towels, clothes, razors, and sex toys. Other ways of getting an STD without having sex include blood transfusion, touching contaminated surfaces such as tanning beds, and transmission from mother to child during the prenatal period and childbirth.
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? Am I 100% safe if I use condoms?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. While condoms significantly reduce the risk of contracting an STI, using condoms does not mean that you are completely safe, especially since sexual intercourse does not represent the only way to get infected.
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? How do I protect myself and my partner from STDs?

While there is no surefire way to protect yourself and your partner from STDs, there are some measures you can take to reduce the risk. These include avoiding risky sexual behavior with multiple partners, proper and consistent use of condoms, getting vaccinated for hepatitis and HPV, considering pre-exposure prophylaxis in consultation with your doctor, and of course, regular testing.
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? How often should I get tested for STDs?

Sexually active individuals should get tested at least once a year. While it may sound like discrimination and prejudice, due to the prevalence of STDs like syphilis among gay and bisexual individuals, the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention recommend that people who are gay or bisexual get tested more frequently. Due to the variety of ways that STDs can be transmitted, everyone, regardless of their sexual habits and orientation, should opt for STD testing as a part of their annual checkup. STD testing is also recommended for individuals who want to become parents.
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? Where can I get tested for STDs?

You can get tested at your local Planned Parenthood center, a doctor’s office, and various health clinics and STD testing services. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for in-clinic testing or at-home testing kits.
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? How do I prepare for an STD test?

No special preparation is required for an STD test. However, individuals taking antibiotics should wait for a week before they get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis. Individuals preparing for a chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis test should not urinate for one hour prior to the test.
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? Can underage individuals get tested for STDs without their parents’ consent?

In the majority of US states, individuals over the age of 13 can get tested confidentially without their parents’ involvement.
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? Are there different kinds of STD tests?

Yes, different tests are used to determine the presence of different forms of STDs. You can opt for a single test that can help you discover whether you are suffering from a particular STD or get a test panel that allows you to find out whether you have any of up to 14 different STDs. The procedure depends on the test and it may include a blood sample, a urine sample or a swab.
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? How do I know which STD test I need?

This is a tricky question. Many STDs cause similar symptoms and some do not cause any symptoms at all. Depending on where you are getting tested, you can talk to doctors, nurses, and STD counselors about the symptoms you are experiencing and they can guide you toward the right choice. However, since doctors themselves cannot know for sure what STI may be attacking your system and causing the disease without running the tests first, the safest choice is a test panel that screens for all the most common STDs.
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? How do at-home STD tests work?

While the procedures may vary, the process normally comprises a few simple steps. You order the test of your choice, collect the required samples in accordance with the instructions, send them back, and receive the results within several days, with optional consultations upon receiving the results.
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? Are at-home STD testing kits safe?

Yes, they are, as long as they come with a CE quality assurance mark and you carefully follow the instructions provided.
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? Are the results of at-home STD tests accurate?

This depends on the company you choose. The accuracy of tests provided by most reputable companies ranges between 95% and 99.99%. The accuracy may depend on the test type.
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? How soon can I get the results of my STD test?

The results of single tests are usually available within 1-5 business days. With test panels screening for a larger number of STDs, you may need to wait a bit longer and the turnaround times significantly vary.
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? Does insurance cover STD testing?

This depends on whether the company you opt for accepts insurance as a means of payment as well as your insurance plan. Furthermore, it is important to know that there may be costs not covered by your insurance, such as doctor’s fees and administrative costs. Be sure to inquire about the details prior to ordering an STD test.
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? What are the advantages of at-home STD tests?

At-home STD tests offer greater convenience and privacy and may be a better option for people who feel uncomfortable with being tested at a doctor’s office or clinic. Furthermore, they provide faster, lab-certified results that can be in your hands in the same amount of time that it would take to get an appointment at a clinic. They are easy, discreet, allow you to avoid eye-to-eye contact, and help you get the results you need when you need them, plus they often include optional consultations with experts via telephone or other communication methods.
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? Does STD testing necessarily involve a physical examination?

No, it does not. Most of the time, all it takes is a blood or urine sample.
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? Is my privacy protected during STD testing?

There is no universal answer to this question. While your privacy should be protected no matter where you get tested, the truth is that not all clinics and companies are equally trustworthy. Therefore, we advise you to inquire about privacy practices before getting tested and only go with the companies with a good reputation.
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? How much does STD testing cost?

The prices vary and depend on the test type. Single tests can cost as little as $20 while testing panels covering up to 14 different STDs can cost up to $350.
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? Do I need a doctor’s order for STD testing?

You normally do. However, if you opt for a private STD testing company, it usually takes care of this for you, so all you need to do is print out the order you receive and take it to the lab. If you opt for an at-home STD test, no doctor’s order is necessary to complete the process.
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