You Won’t Get Tested For STDs Unless You Ask

April is STD Awareness Month, which should serve as a yearly reminder to get tested for STDs if you’re sexually active. When you make your annual trip to the gyno, your doc will probably give you a Pap smear, check your boobs for lumps, and inspect your lady parts for abnormalities. But your gynecologist won’t test you for anything else, unless you ask — so ask! Here’s what tests you should be getting.

  • HPV: A Pap smear will check your cervix for abnormalities, which can be an indicator of HPV.
  • Gonorrhea: If you don’t have any symptoms, your doctor will give you a urine test.
  • Chlamydia: As with gonorrhea, a urine test will reveal whether you have an asymptomatic infection.
  • HIV/AIDS: The doctor will either take blood to be tested or swab the inside of your mouth to test cells.
  • Depending on your sexual practices, you might want to ask for additional tests. These are less common in annual exams, as symptoms will often indicate that you have contracted one of them, but we think it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  • Syphilis: This bacterial infection can be discovered even if there isn’t an outbreak by examining a blood sample.
  • Herpes: This virus can either be detected with a blood test or by taking a sample of fluid from a sore, although no good screening test exists for the disease.
  • Now, go call your gynecologist. If you make STD testing a yearly ritual, rather than something you do only when you’re worried you’ve contracted a disease, the whole process becomes less scary. And don’t you want healthy reproductive organs for years to come? We do. [Mayo Clinic, Planned Parenthood, US News and World Report,]