GENERAL STD PANEL
This panel screens for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, oral herpes and genital herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2).
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS and is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids including sexual activity and the sharing of intravenous drug needles. Eventually, those who are infected with HIV will develop AIDS which ultimately destroys the immune system, opening the body to numerous infections. There is no cure for AIDS so early detection and treatment can delay the onset of symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
Why Do I Need It?
An annual HIV test is recommended for anyone sexually active between the ages 13 to 64. Those who are at an increased risk for contracting the virus (men who have sex with men, IV drug users, etc.) should test more frequently.
Understanding HIV Test Results
A positive test result indicates that you are infected with the HIV virus. A negative result may indicate that you are not infected, or that it is too early for antibodies to develop to the virus. Retesting is recommended if you are in a high risk group.
About Chlamydia and Gonorrhea
This test screens for two common STDs, chlamydia and gonorrhea. The CDC recommends annual testing for these infections, with or without symptoms. Left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to serious reproductive problems including infertility.
Symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea may include the following:
- Abnormal penile or vaginal discharge
- Pain with urination
- Pain during sex
- Genital discomfort
- Lower abdominal or back pain (women)
- Irregular menstrual cycles (women)
- Swollen testicles (men)
Why Do I Need It?
If there is a possibility you have been exposed, do not wait for symptoms to appear. Many people never experience noticeable symptoms when infected and they can be tested simultaneously with one sample. Dual testing is recommended since both STDs can cause similar symptoms.
If you are concerned about a specific exposure to chlamydia or gonorrhea, there is a chance you may have been exposed to other STDs as well.
Understanding Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test Results
Results for these tests are either positive or negative. If your results are positive, contact your doctor or gynecologist immediately for treatment and inform any partners who also may have been exposed.
About Oral and Genital Herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2)
The herpes simplex virus is a common virus that causes painful blisters that break open into lesions, may cause symptoms similar to viral meningitis and is highly contagious. It is one of the most common viral infections and exists as HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 causes blisters or “cold sores” around the oral cavity and HSV-2 causes blisters primarily in the genital area but also the thighs, buttocks and lower back. Both types are transferable to both areas of the body. The virus is spread through physical contact with open lesions but can also be spread when no lesions are visible. HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease but HSV-1 can be spread through oral sex and develop in the genital area.
Symptoms of HSV-2 are often mild and 90% of those infected are not aware that they have the virus. Both viruses remain in the body for life and may cause recurring lesion outbreaks. Shedding of the virus also makes it contagious even without an outbreak.
This test uses IgG technology to screen for antibodies of both HSV-1 and HSV-2. Since strains can be transferred to opposite regions through oral sex and exhibit identical symptoms, concurrent testing for both is recommended. Pregnant women should be monitored near the time of birth because the virus can be passed onto newborn infants causing viral meningitis and blindness.
Why Do I Need It?
If you think that you or your partner have been exposed to either HSV-1 or HSV-2 you should be tested. Medications can help with painful symptoms and if you are aware that you have the virus, you can take measures to protect your partner.
Understanding Oral and Genital Herpes Test Results
During the initial phase of infection the body generates IgM antibodies to fight the virus. These are replaced by IgG antibodies which remain in the body forever. The CDC and other sources recommend IgG testing for herpes because it’s much more reliable than IgM testing.
This is blood and urine testing. The lab asks that you not go to the bathroom at least 1-2 hours before testing, no fasting required.