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STD Testing: Facts and Misconceptions You Need to Know

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that can be passed from one person to another through sexual activity. Despite their prevalence and potential dangers, there are still many misconceptions surrounding STDs and their testing. Read on as we explore some of the most common STD testing facts and misconceptions you need to know today.

Fact: STDs Are Common

STDs are more common than you might think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reported in the United States in 2019 alone. This is a significant increase from previous years, and it emphasizes the importance of regular STD testing.

Misconception: STDs Only Affect Certain Groups of People

STDs can affect anyone who is sexually active, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or age. While certain groups may be at a higher risk for certain STDs, such as men who have sex with men being at a higher risk for HIV, anyone who is sexually active can contract an STD.

Fact: STD Testing Is Simple and Quick

STD testing is typically a simple and quick process. Depending on the STD being tested for, the test may involve a blood or urine sample, a swab of the affected area, or a physical exam. Results are usually available within a few days.

Misconception: STD Testing Is Painful and Embarrassing

STD testing does not have to be painful or embarrassing. While some tests may be uncomfortable, such as a swab of the genital area, the actual testing process is usually quick and relatively painless. Additionally, healthcare providers are trained to be non-judgmental and compassionate when it comes to STD testing.

Fact: Some STDs Have No Symptoms

Some STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, may not have any symptoms. This means that someone could be infected with an STD and not even know it. Regular STD testing is important, even if you feel fine and don't have any symptoms.

Misconception: You Can Tell If Someone Has an STD by Looking at Them

You cannot tell if someone has an STD just by looking at them. Many STDs have no visible symptoms, and some people may not show any symptoms at all. It is also important to remember that STDs can be contracted through oral and anal sex, not just vaginal sex.

Fact: STDs Can Have Serious Health Consequences

STDs can have serious health consequences if left untreated. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility in women. Syphilis can also cause serious health problems if left untreated, including damage to the brain, nerves, and other organs.

Misconception: STDs Always Show Up on Tests

Not all STDs will show up on standard STD tests. For example, herpes can only be diagnosed through a physical exam or a blood test, and HPV can only be diagnosed through a pap smear or an HPV test. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about which STD tests you may need based on your sexual history and any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Fact: STD Testing Is Confidential

STD testing is confidential, meaning that your results will not be shared with anyone without your permission. This includes your parents, your partner, and your employer. If you are concerned about confidentiality, talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

Misconception: STD Testing Is Expensive

STD testing is not always expensive. Many healthcare providers offer free or low-cost STD testing, and some health insurance plans cover the cost of STD testing. Additionally, some community organizations and clinics may offer free or low-cost testing for those who cannot afford it.


Understanding STD testing is an important part of sexual health. By understanding the facts and dispelling the misconceptions surrounding STD testing, we can work to reduce the spread of STDs and promote healthy sexual behavior. If you are sexually active, talk to your healthcare provider about which STD tests you may need and how often you should be tested. Moreover, you must remember that STD testing is confidential, simple, and can help to protect your health and the health of your partners.

RSC Health offers comprehensive panel testing that caters to the needs of almost every type of patient. With us, your needs are covered. Get in touch with us today!

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