Every new experience can be terrifying and this statement very much applies to going in for your first STD test.
While STD testing is now a standard service available in many Singapore clinics including Shim Clinic and the responsible thing to do if you are sexually active, you may have some concerns. The following guide will give you a good idea about what to expect and how to prepare for your first STD test.
When Should You Get Tested?
First things first – when should you get tested and how often should you consider going in for additional screening?
There are many instances in which getting an STD test would be the smart thing to do.
If you’re entering a new exclusive relationship, you may both want to get tested before becoming intimate. The same is true for people who have multiple partners or casual sexual encounters. Sex workers and individuals belonging to high risk groups (like men who have sex with men) should also get tested regularly.
Finding out that someone has been unfaithful to you could call for STD testing (just to give you peace of mind). You should also get a test done whenever you experience STD-like symptoms.
The frequency of testing depends. For high risk individuals, it may be a good idea to get tested every three to four months. Keep in mind that many STDs like HIV and syphilis take several months for the infection to become detectable. Thus, you may want to get a test done again a few months from now to make sure you’re healthy.
For people who are not considered high risk individuals, getting tested at least once per year (you may want to go for screening every six months) would be the responsible thing to do.
So, what should you anticipate when you visit a sexual health clinic in Singapore to get tested?
When you visit, you’ll be taken to an exam room. A clinician will explain the possible test varieties and ask you some questions about your history. Depending on your circumstances and recent sexual history, the clinician can recommend the type of STD test that’s right for you (there are several possibilities and we’ll discuss those in the coming section).
In most instances, a blood sample will need to be taken. For some conditions, a urine sample or a genital swab will be required.
Blood tests can detect HIV, syphilis and hepatitis. A swab test is common for gonorrhoea and chlamydia. A urine test is also a reliable option for chlamydia and gonorrhoea detection. Such a test can also be used to determine if you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by a certain type of bacteria.
The clinician will then tell you when to collect your results. There are some quick tests and these include HIV detection. If you’ve had such a test done, you’ll get the results in about 15 minutes.
Singapore clinics do STD testing while preserving confidentiality. You don’t have to worry about going to get screened. Anything that you say to the clinician or reveal about your sexual history is 100 per cent confidential and will not leave the confines of the exam room.
Types of STD Tests
Reputable practices like Shim Clinic have a wide range of STD test packages. It’s an excellent idea to inquire about the differences and receive some help from the clinician for the selection of the right one. There are individual tests that screen for just one disease. If you are going through the trouble of paying a clinic a visit, however, you may want to have a more comprehensive test performed.
Shim Clinic’s Basic 2 package, for example, screen for both HIV and syphilis. There’s also a Basic 4 test variety that screens for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C.
The most comprehensive option is the Basic 10 screen that tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, herpes simplex 1 and 2, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
Shim also has comprehensive male and female packages, comprehensive site and blood testing. Check out the test presentations on the Shim Clinic website. Alternatively, you can get in touch with Shim Clinic to determine what the differences between the packages are.
You Have Your Results. Now What?
Waiting to get your results is probably the most nerve-wracking part of the entire experience. Try to relax. If you’ve acted in a way that’s responsible towards yourself and your partner(s), chances are that your STD test will come back negative.
Even if you get a positive test result, most STDs can be treated and managed effectively today. The sooner you find out that you have an STD, the easier it will be to seek treatment without fearing potential health complications.
While some Singapore facilities make it possible for results to be checked online, it may be a better idea to go and collect your results in person.
Visiting the clinic for a second time will give you an opportunity to have your results presented by a professional. If you happen to get a positive result, you’ll also receive recommendations about the best treatment options and you will be referred for an appointment with an experienced physician.
This being said, it’s a good idea to talk to your partner(s) about STD testing. Going for screening together will definitely strengthen the relationship and give both of you peace of mind. On top of that, having someone by your side during the process will take care of some of the nerves. There’s nothing embarrassing about discussing the possibility. If you truly care about that person(s), getting tested together would be the best thing to do.