How Do I Know When to Get Tested for STDs?
The recommended timing for when to get tested for STDs varies depending on your lifestyle. At myLAB Box, we consider the optimum frequency of testing to be once every 3-6 months for sexually active adults. At the very least, everyone should test once each year.
When to Get Tested for STDs
While every sexually active adult should screen regularly, let’s go over some general guidelines for scheduling your tests:
If you think you have been exposed to a disease or infection, it is time to be tested.
Individual at-home tests are available for all of the most common infections. This way, if you believe that you are at risk for something in particular, we’ve got you covered. Did you find out that an ex now has a sexually transmitted infection (STI)? Just because you aren’t showing visible symptoms, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear! The only way to know your status for sure is to get tested.
If you have had unprotected sex, you are at greater risk for infection.
As it is, one in three Americans are living with a STI. If you are not using protection, you should screen regularly to ensure that an undiagnosed infection isn’t lingering.
Believe it or not, this guideline also applies to people in a monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, we live in a world of frequent infidelity. In fact, studies show that nearly 30-to-60 percent of married individuals will engage in some form of extramarital sex. This means that every sexually active adult must remain proactive about his or her own personal health, regardless of any existing relationship status. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you have never tested for STDs, you should test right away.
If you are sexually active – and this includes oral sex and anal sex – but have never been tested… it is time to change that! Getting into the habit of regular testing is the best way to take control of your sexual health. Waiting until you have detectable symptoms is simply not enough. After all, many sexually transmitted infections do not show symptoms at all. If they do, they are familiar signs such as a sore throat, which can easily be mistaken for a common ailment like a cold. There are many reasons people avoid getting tested – nervousness, time constraints, cost. Fortunately, myLAB Box excels in making the at-home testing process as convenient, quick and nonjudgmental as possible.
If you are starting a new sexual relationship but have not been tested thoroughly, you can spread an undiagnosed STD to your new partner.
This is because even if you are faithful, some sexually transmitted infections can take months to manifest. Start your relationship off on the right foot with an open and honest conversation about your sexual health. Get tested and encourage your new partner to do so as well. In fact, you can test together when you use myLAB Box’s Love Box. This combo box includes two testing kits that each screen for the eight most common sexually transmitted infections.
If you have gotten screened previously but continue to be sexually active, you should test again. After all, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 50 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 44 have never been tested for anything except HIV. If you test positive, you should retest in 21-28 days after the completion of your treatment. This ensures that the infection has cleared your system. If you do not re-test to confirm successful treatment, you may risk infecting your partners or being re-infected yourself. To explain this in more detail, read our guide to STD incubation and testing timeframes.
How At-Home Testing Works
Now that you know when to get tested for STDs, it’s time to learn how the at-home testing process works. First you should choose the test that best fits your lifestyle. This can include screening for a single infection or using the Total Box, myLAB Box’s comprehensive kit that tests for the 14 most common STIs in the United States.
The rest of the process is just as simple:
- Order a home testing kit (You even get free shipping!)
- Collect a sample using the easy-to-follow instructions.
- Return the sample off for testing. (More free shipping!)
- Receive your lab-certified results online in just days.
It’s as easy as that – lab-certified results in a matter of days! When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases and infections – don’t stress, just test!
Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA