Blood Tests and Pap Test to Diagnose STD's

Patient

Q: Hello im Amy. I am 16 and i am sexually active. I was wondering if there is any way of a person knowing if they have an STI, if there are no symptoms. If i wanted to know myself, would i be able to go to a doctor and ask for some sort of test, to find out if there is anything wrong with me? Thanks.

Doctor

A:   Yes, there are blood tests for the more common STDs (HIV, Syphilis, etc). Most physicians agree when a patient requests these tests as most, if not all, STDs have asymptomatic states. This means that an organism can stay in one’s body without having signs and symptoms, yet the individual can effectively transmit the infection without knowing it. Pap tests are also recommended in women, ideally within 3 years of initiating sexual intercourse. If this period has passed, it is still okay. Pap tests can detect HPV, the virus causing genital warts and cervical cancer, and other infections; however, it has to be done every year to increase the yield of diagnosing these diseases. I hope this helps and please remember to practice safe sex always.

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