STD Testing

Caroline Colin, MD -  - OB-GYN

Caroline Colin, MD

OB-GYN located in Santa Monica, CA

STD Testing Specialist
To make sure that serious illness doesn't occur, regular STD testing is important. Dr. Caroline Colin is an OB/GYN serving the Santa Monica, California area. She can do STD testing and help with treatment solutions when needed.

STD Testing Q & A

by Caroline Colin, MD

What Are STDs?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are passed from one person to another during sexual intercourse or, in some cases, IV drug use. They can also be passed in less common ways like childbirth and breastfeeding. Some of the most common STDs include HIV, hepatitis C, herpes, syphilis. gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

Can a Person Have Multiple STDs at Once?

Yes, in fact, it can be fairly common for patients to have more than one STD. For this reason, STD testing is generally done in panels that check for 10 of the most common STDs at once.

What Are the Symptoms of an STD?

STD symptoms can vary widely. Painful urination, pain during intercourse, increased bleeding between periods, changes to the genitalia, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, and many other physical symptoms can occur with STDs. However, some STDs have few symptoms or even no symptoms. Just because there is no pain or obvious outward indicator doesn't mean an STD isn't there.

What Is HPV?

HPV, an acronym for Human Papilloma Virus, refers to a group of viruses. Many of this group of viruses cause genital infections, and these are the most dangerous types of HPV. Today, HPV is the most frequently occurring kind of sexual infection in the U.S.

How Can HPV Be Recognized?

Warts in the genital area are often the first indicator of HPV. Warts can be any size and nearly any shape. Most warts are pinkish in color, but they are sometimes the same color as the rest of the skin. While the warts are usually found on the genitals, they may also show up in adjacent areas like the anus, top part of the thighs, or even internally on the cervix. Low back pain, pain while urinating, and bleeding when not menstruating are other possible symptoms. HPV can sometimes be challenging to recognize because it does not always have symptoms. Even if a person develops symptoms, those symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after contact with a person infected with HPV.

How Is HPV Spread From One Person to Another?

HPV infections are often spread through direct genital to genital contact. However, it is also possible to spread HPV through touch or shared garments or materials like towels.

Can HPV Cause Cancer?

HPV is associated with several types of cancer, including cervical, anus, and vulva cancer. While not all people who have HPV will develop cancer, it is still vital that treatment is sought as soon as HPV is diagnosed to avoid worsening health problems.

How Is HPV Testing Done?

There are 2 basic tests used to diagnose HPV: the Pap smear and an HPV test. These tests should be performed periodically, and patients should always let their OB/GYN know about any new symptoms or problems that arise.

When Should Patients Get Tested For STDs?

Patients should be tested for STDs if they suspect that they have been exposed, or even potentially exposed, to an STD. With STD testing, "as soon as possible" is the general rule. Many STDs become worse if they are not treated promptly, and patients may also pass the disease on to other people if they aren't aware.

Will Insurance Pay For STD Testing?

Generally, insurance companies will pay for at least part of STD testing. This only applies if a physician (usually an OB/GYN) is the one who ordered the STD testing.

How Long Until Results Come Back?

In most cases, it will take a few days to receive the results of the STD tests. The doctor's office contacts patients as soon as test results are available. Sometimes, patients will need to visit the doctor again to get the details on their STD test results.

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