STI Testing 101

Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs are rife and as dangerous as always. While some STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be treated with antibiotics, the viral types, such as herpes, human papilloma virus and HIV have no cure.  In this column, sexual health practitioner Professor Elna McIntosh shares her STI 101 of testing.

Each STI Requires Its Own Unique Test

I am often asked the question by patients – How long after unprotected sex can I get tested? Well this all  depends. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by a variety of organisms that fall into four main categories: bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral.

 

STI Sex

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t one “super” test that can screen for the over 25 different organisms that cause STIs.  Each and every STI requires its own unique test, and each test has a specific time frame before results can be accurately determined. These are the timelines for each potential infection:

Testing Timelines:

STIs 1010

Understanding Your STI Risk

No matter your age and stage of life, it’s really important to understand your sexual risk. The following table provides guidelines on known, possible and unknown risks when it comes to sexual acts.

What You Can Get if Your Partner is InfectedKNOWN RISKSPOSSIBLE RISKSUNKNOWN
Performing oral sex on a man·       Chlamydia

·       Gonorrhoea

·       Hepatitis A*

·       Herpes

·       HPV (warts)

·       Shigella*

·       Syphilis

·       Hepatitis B

·       HIV**

·       Hepatitis C
Performing oral sex on a womannone·       HerpesHPV (warts)
Receiving oral sex – man·       Chlamydia

·       Gonorrhoea

·       NGU

·       Herpes

·       Syphilis

none·       HPV (warts)
Receiving oral sex – woman·       Herpesnone·       HPV (warts)
Anal sex – top·       Chlamydia

·       Crabs/Scabies

·       Gonorrhoea

·       Hepatitis B

·       Herpes

·       HIV

·       HPV (warts)

·       NGU

·       Syphilis

none·       Hepatitis C
Anal sex – bottom·       Chlamydia

·       Crabs/Scabies

·       Gonorrhoea

·       Hepatitis B

·       Herpes

·       HIV ***

·       HPV (warts)

·       Syphilis

none·       Hepatitis C
Vaginal sex – man·       Chlamydia

·       Crabs/Scabies

·       Gonorrhoea

·       Hepatitis B

·       Herpes

·       HIV

·       HPV (warts)

·       NGU

·       Syphilis

·       Trichomoniasis

none·       Hepatitis C
Vaginal sex – woman·       Chlamydia

·       Crabs/Scabies

·       Gonorrhoea

·       Hepatitis B

·       Herpes

·       HIV

·       HPV (warts)

·       Syphilis

·       Trichomoniasis

none·       Hepatitis C
Oral-anal Sex·       Amebiasis

·       Cryptosporidium

·       Giardia

·       Hepatitis A

·       Shigella

none·       HPV (warts)

 

DR ELNA MCINTOSH is a sexual health care practitioner in private practice. She is a sex- educator, researcher, author, and has been a media personality for the past 25 years.

Professor Elna McIntosh