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STD Screening for Men and Women

Sexually transmitted diseases are becoming more common throughout Singapore, and thousands of people have been infected. Unfortunately, many of them don’t know they have it.

Regular STD screening can significantly help in preventing the spread of these diseases and stopping them from causing incurable harm to your health. It can be intimidating to navigate your way towards STD testing, so here are some pointers to help you out in your next GP clinic visit.

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How can I know if I have an STD?

You’re at risk of STD even if you have only ever had sex with one person. Moreover, you can get it from any form of sex—oral, vaginal, or anal.

There are many types of STDs, but some of the most common are gonorrhoea and chlamydia, which often don’t show symptoms but can be extremely harmful. If left untreated, both STDs can cause inflammatory disease in the pelvic and even infertility in women.

The only way to confirm your reproductive health is to get tested. If you’re at risk at STD, see a doctor for STD and HIV testing.

How can I detect an STD?

Detection process usually depends on the infection you want to detect. Reproductive conditions like pubic lice and anogenital warts are usually detected during a physical examination, which do not need extensive tests to confirm diagnosis.

For gonorrhoea, trichomonas, and chlamydia, diagnostic tests involve taking swabs. We recommend M Lam clinic for men health check in Singapore because they are specialists at such tests. A swab is rubbed gently in different places, such as the penis, vagina, throat, or rectum to collect samples of discharge, mucus, or cells. The samples will then be examined under a microscope and sent to the lab for further examination.

Chlamydia can also be detected by checking your urine sample, while hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and HIV are detected through your blood sample.

What do I have to do to get tested?

If you show symptoms that you think are due to STD, or show no symptom at all but are worried if you’re infected, see a health professional to get tested. You can do any of the following options:

• Consult your own general practitioner (GP). Your doctor will perform physical examination, as well as give you advices on how to avoid STDs. If your GP suspects that you have STD, he will likely refer you to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.

• Directly go to a GUM clinic. There’s no need for a referral from a GP to get tested in a GUM clinic.

• Send your sample to a laboratory by post. Some private clinics and companies offer this type of testing service for convenience and confidentiality purposes. Check the Internet to find out what companies cater screenings through samples collected via post.

Until you have the results, and cleared if necessary, avoid any sexual intercourse. This is to prevent from spreading any possible infection.

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When should I get tested?

Men and women should be tested for STD regularly. Singapore health experts recommend the following:

• Sexually active women should visit a women’s health clinic to get tested for gonorrhoea and chlamydia at least once a year until they reach 25 years of age. If you have higher risk factors, such as having multiple sexual partners, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia tests should still be continued annually after 25.
• Every three years, women aging 21 to 65 should have Pap tests to check for HPV (an STD that causes cancer).
• All men who have (or had) sex with men should visit a men’s health clinic for syphilis screening, and probably also gonorrhoea and chlamydia screenings, at least once a year.
• Pregnant women should be screened for hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, and syphilis.
• Everyone, especially those sexually active people, should consult their healthcare professional about whether they need HIV tests.

What are the symptoms of STD?

You can get many types of STDs by having sex. Since some STDs might not how symptoms right away (or at all), it’s possible that you or your partner may be infected and not know it. If you’re sexually active, has a new partner, or have multiple sexual partners, regular screening is important.

For women, watch out for these symptoms:

• Unusual vaginal discharge (unusual colour, amount, or smell)
• Burning feeling when urinating
• Excessive itching in the labia or vagina
• Pain during intercourse
• Unusual rash or bumps on the genitals

For men, symptoms can include:

• Foul-smelling or discoloured discharge from the penis
• Burning feeling when urinating
• Excessive itching in the scrotum or penis
• Pain during intercourse or masturbation
• Unusual rash or bumps on the genitals
• Bleeding from the penis

What is the procedure of an STD test?

Screening for Men

• Preparation
Do not urinate for two hours prior the STD screening. When you’re in the testing area, your doctor may ask you to completely or partially undress.

• During the test
Expect your doctor to work closely with you during your visit to a men’s health clinic. Your doctor will visually check your genitals for abnormal discharge, sores, or pain by touching your testicles and penis. He may also take a swab from the urethra (opening of the penis), as well as from any sore or lesion. A blood and urine sample may also be asked from you for laboratory examination.

Screening for Women

• Preparation
You will also be asked to completely or partially undress.

• During the Test
During an STD test, the doctor will visually check your genitals. Your women’s health clinic professional may insert a speculum inside your vagina to get a clear view of your cervix and vaginal walls. If you’re getting a Pap test, mucous samples from the cervix will be taken using a small brush and spatula. If not, a swab from the vagina and cervix is enough. Also, like men’s screening, urine and blood samples are necessary for more in-depth examination.

Only a professional healthcare provider can tell whether you’re infected with an STD or not. So, if you’re sexually active and have never been tested, set an appointment now with your specialist to find out your reproductive health status.

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