Know Your Body +
STD testing generally includes: blood testing for syphilis, and Hepatitis A, B and C; urethral swabs or urine cultures for chlamydia and gonorrhea in your cock; rectal, throat and vaginal swabs for chlamydia and gonorrhea in your ass, throat and vagina; and anal and vaginal pap smears to test for genital warts. Your skin can also be directly examined to try to detect syphilis, herpes, warts, crabs, scabies and molluscum.
STD testing is confidential. The health department is required to know your name if you test positive for an STD so they can follow up with you and ensure you are treated. HIV testing can be done on its own, or at the same time as other STD testing. Blood testing for HIV is the most common method. Oral HIV tests are becoming more widely available, as are rapid blood tests which give a result in minutes. Anonymous HIV testing is available in most cities.
Treating an STD can be as simple as using a cream or as complicated as taking several medications every day. You know your body best, so make sure to talk to your healthcare provider if a treatment isn’t working for you so you can make changes. This is particularly important if you are on antibiotics or antiviral medications. Missing doses or stopping treatment early can result in fewer treatment options for you and a stronger disease or infection that is resistant to treatment.
Here are tips for different kinds of bodies. Symptoms may or may not indicate the presence of an STD. Examine your body regularly to get a sense of what’s normal for you. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, see a healthcare provider as soon as you can.
- Grab a small hand mirror and get naked. Examine your cock, balls, ass or vagina for sores, blisters, rashes, itching, redness, swelling, unusual odor or fluid discharge.
- Check your pubes closely for small mites, eggs or lumps.
- Look under your balls and pull back your foreskin.
- Gently squeeze your cock along the shaft to check for any unusual discharge.
If you and/or your sex partner have surgically constructed genitals, know that the type of tissue present can affect STD susceptibility, prevention, symptoms and treatments. Ask your healthcare provider for STD information specific to your and your sex partners’ bodies.