A Basic Guide To STI Testing

STI testing

STI testing As the name suggests, STIs or sexually transmitted infections are those infections that are passed on from one infected partner to another during sexual intercourse; this could be anal, oral or vaginal intercourse. There are almost 20 different sexually transmitted infections that can be passed on this way.

While some of these infections, like bacterial vaginosis, are quite harmless, there are those like syphilis that can wreck havoc on the internal organs if not tested or treated on time; and can even lead to death.

When STI Testing Is Warranted

If you suspect that you suffer from an STI, a doctor must be consulted and tests conducted to diagnose or rule out an STI.

If you are aware of or suspect that your partner suffers from a sexually transmitted infection, STI testing is warranted regardless of whether a condom was used during intercourse.

If you have unprotected sex with an unknown or a new partner, you are at a high risk of developing an STI, and STI testing must be done.

Types Of STI Testing

There are several types of testings that are done for STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Depending on the type of STI that is suspected the general tests are:

Visual Testing

This is the first testing that is always conducted on an STI. This is just a visual examination of the area where there is an infection. The lesion or infection is examined through the naked eye.

Swab Testing

swab testing

In this type of testing, a cotton swab is used to collect a sample of the cells of the lesion for further testing.

Blood Testing

Blood samples are collected to test for certain types of sexually transmitted infections.

Collecting Samples

Samples of either the blood, urine or any discharge from the site of the infection are collected and sent to the lab for further testing.

Common Sexually Transmitted Infections And The STI Testing Conducted

Listed below are some STIs and the testing done to detect them. While there are many more STIs than there are listed here, these are the common ones.


Since this is a bacterial infection, a urine sample is collected to detect the presence of the bacteria; this is collected from both men and women.

urine sample

In men, a swab test is done to collect a sample from the urethra. In women, a sample is collected from the cervix.


A urine sample is collected to detect the bacteria. Depending on the type of intercourse, a sample of the fluid is collected from either the mouth, throat, anus or vagina for further testing. In men, a Gram Stain which is a type of culture is conducted after taking a sample via a swab test from the urethra.


A swab test is conducted on the chancre. Blood tests every three months, for a period of two years, are conducted to make sure the infection has been completely eradicated.


This is difficult to detect in men and usually resolves on its own in a few weeks. In women, a sample of the vaginal fluid is collected.


blood test for HIV

Blood tests are conducted every three to six months when HIV infection is suspected.

Hepatitis B

Blood tests are conducted to detect the presence of antibodies.

Herpes Simplex Virus

Visual examination. A swab test is conducted on the lesion in less than 24 hours of the lesion appearing. Specific blood tests are conducted to detect the virus. All STIs are treatable if they are detected early. If you suspect that you suffer from one, get yourself tested today!