What Is STI Testing
If you are sexually active, it is important to get STI testing done to take care of your sexual health and check for sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common but often overlooked because many do not cause symptoms. If you are sexually active, it is important to get STI testing done to take care of your sexual health.

Some of the most common STI tests available test for:

Who should undergo STI testing?

You should get tested if you are at risk of getting an STI. Factors that may make you more susceptible to STI include:

  • New sexual partners
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Changes in the body
  • Sex with someone who has an STI
  • Unprotected sex
  • Sexual contact with sex workers

High-risk groups who should undergo STI testing include:

  • Men who have sex with men
  • Young adults (ages 15-24)
  • HIV-positive individuals
  • People with a history of previous STI
  • Pregnant women
  • People who engage in Illicit drug use
  • People who have been admitted to a juvenile detention center

What are the screening recommendations for STIs?

Table: Screening recommendations by gender and population
Gender Population Routine screening recommendation Screening frequency
Women Age <25 years Genital chlamydia Annually
Genital gonorrhea Annually
HIV At least once
HIV At least once
Pregnant Genital chlamydia

First trimester (if <25 years or at increased risk)

Genital gonorrhea

First trimester (if <25 years or at increased risk)

Syphilis First trimester
HIV First trimester
HBV First trimester
With HIV infection Genital chlamydia, genital gonorrhea, genital trichomoniasis, and syphilis Annually
HBV and HCV First visit
Women who have sex with women (WSW) and women who have sex with men and women (WSWM) WSW and WSWM should not be assumed to be at lower risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) based on their sexual orientation. Screening for cervical cancer and STIs should be conducted according to guidelines for women.
Men Men who have sex with women (MSW) without HIV infection HIV At least once
Men who have sex with men (MSM) without HIV infection Genital and rectal chlamydia, genital and rectal gonorrhea, pharyngeal gonorrhea, syphilis At least annually
Men who have sex with men (MSM) without HIV infection HIV and HBV First visit
HCV At least once
MSW with HIV infection Genital chlamydia, genital gonorrhea, and syphilis Annually
HBV and HCV First visit
MSM with HIV infection Genital and rectal chlamydia, genital and rectal gonorrhea, pharyngeal gonorrhea, syphilis At least annually
Hepatitis A virus and HBV First visit
HCV At least annually

Transgender and gender-diverse individuals: Screening for STIs should be based on an individual's anatomy and sexual practices. Recommendations for genital gonorrhea, chlamydia, and cervical cancer screening in cisgender women should be extended to all transgender men and gender-diverse individuals with a cervix. Screening for other STIs should be based on risk factors and exposures.

SLIDESHOW

12 Preventable STDs: Pictures, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment See Slideshow

How do STI tests work?

Table: STI tests and samples collected for each test
STI tests Sample collected
Chlamydia and gonorrhea Swab of genital area or urine sample
Human immunodeficiency virus Blood test or swab from inside of the mouth
Genital herpes Blood test or swab of the affected area
Syphilis Blood test or sample taken from a sore
Trichomoniasis Swab of the infected area, physical exam, or sample of discharge
Human papillomavirus Visual diagnosis or regular screening with Pap and/or hepatitis C virus tests

If the result is positive, your partner may need to be notified and tested as well.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 12/9/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/screening-for-sexually-transmitted-infections#H1

https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/get-tested/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis)