It's a very clear fact that, especially in India - almost no one gets checked for any kind of STD's - considering all the stigma around it. And I get it, it's true the stigma is so deeply entrenched, things can get awkward super fast. But, if you're going to have a little fun of your own anyway, I think it's best to get tested and have that fun safely.
Look at me, sounding all aunty - like, but that's the least of my concerns. If I can have sex without the constant fear of the question - "what if I get an STD?" - I think it's worth sounding "aunty-like." And, it's important to let everyone get rid of that question from their mind.
Even though it's true that with all the stigma around sex it's harder to get tested - it's also true that it's just plain irresponsible not to. If you can find a way to have sex - you can find a way to get tested, so please head on to your doctor.
Keeping all this in mind, here's a small little guide to help you get tested for any kind of STDs.
Herpes is the most common STI in the world - and it spreads very easily. And it comes in two variants - oral herpes and genital herpes. Oral herpes can have causes other than sexual activity - but oral sex is one of the reasons for it too.
If you have herpes, it basically means you have sores either around your mouth or genitals that are super contagious, because unlike other STI's herpes spreads through contact and not sexual fluids. And unfortunately, there are no cures for herpes - but there is prevention and control.
The control is a simple use of antivirus medication that lessens the frequency of the outbreaks of sores while also lowering the risk of spreading it to your partners. Prevention is pretty straight foward, too - use condoms and dental dams. Get tested - both you, and your partner - and make sure you have protected sex. It's that easy.
Testing for Herpes is also very easy - just do a blood test and a viral culture test (taking cell samples from sores) - and then get the results.
Hepatitis And Syphilis
Hepatitis is an inflammatory liver condition - and is usually cause by viral infections. There are 5 types of Hepatitis - A, B, C, D, and E - though the most common are A,B, and C. Hepatitis A is commonly caused by infected food or driks, but can be sexually transmitted, Hepatitis B is caused by transmission of sexual fluids and Hepatitis C is caused by blood transfusion.
For all the three, there are vaccines that help to cure it and Hep B is usually treated with antivirals. The tests for Hep A, B, and C are similar to Herpes - blood tests, viral culture with an additional liver exam.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can be cured, but early detection is important because it may cause brain damage if left untreated. Though it has a cure and isn't permanent the disease is very common and turns out fatal because it goes untreated. Even in this case, blood tests and viral culture are standard procedure, along with a Rapid Plasma Reagin test.
Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is usually symptomless but very common - which makes it difficult to recognize. It usually affects the genital regions - causing burning pee sensations and genital discharge.
But, chlamydia is curable if treatment is given at the right time, otherwise it can disrupt the reproductive system entirely, and cause fatal pregnancies and erectile dysfunction. Chlamydia tests usually involve urine sample tests and genital discharge tests.
Gonorrhea is often always accompanied by chlamydia and is usually tested for together. But in this case sexual activity isn't necessary it can also spread through physical contact. But even Gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics if detected on time. And prevention for any and every STI is simply safe sex - and this isn't an exception.
HIV And AIDS
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that damages the immune system. The immune system helps the body fight off infections, but HIV blocks out the cells that do that.
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids that include - blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids, and breast milk. Currently HIV is an incurable disease, but with medical care, including a treatment called antiretroviral therapy, it’s possible to manage HIV and live with the virus for many years.
Without treatment, a person with HIV is likely to develop a more serious condition called AIDS. At that point, the immune system is too weak to fight off other diseases and infections at all. Untreated, life expectancy with AIDS is about three years.
It’s the most advanced stage of HIV. But just because a person has HIV doesn’t mean they’ll develop AIDS.
HIV and AIDS can both be tested through antibody and antigen tests, and antiretroviral therapy is the most effective form of treatment for both diseases.
I know how hard it can be to go get tested - money, permission and actually getting there - it can all be very taxing, but it's so vital to protect yourself from that it's essential that you find a way through all the difficulties and just get tested.
Here's a Quora thread that'll help you find clinics and doctors around India where you can get tested. (Click here)