Types of STD Tests You Should Know About

There is no single STD testing for all types of sexually-transmitted diseases. A specific STD test will be recommended by a doctor in Singapore after going through your medical history, list of symptoms and initial check-up and interview. People who are sexually active are recommended to get an STD screening at least once a year.

Here are the most common testing methods for each sexually transmitted disease.

Chlamydia

STD testing for chlamydia in both men and women are called chlamydia NAAT or NAT and Chlamydia/GC STD Panel. NAAT refers to the method nucleic amplification test. Other laboratory technicians refer to it as Chlamydia trachomatis culture or Chlamydia trachomatis DNA Probe. Testing for chlamydia is usually done at the same time as the testing for gonorrhea in most clinics in Singapore. NAAT is a type of molecular test aimed at detecting the genetic material of the bacteria. The hospital staff will take either a urine or swab sample from the patient. Another testing method uses the sample taken from the person to culture the bacteria.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea will exhibit the same symptoms, if any, as chlamydia. That is why when you undergo STD testing at http://www.kensingtonfamilyclinic.com/std-hiv/std-testing in Singapore for chlamydia, the laboratory technician will also perform detection tests for the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Each infection, however, has a different treatment method. The NAAT is recommended for gonorrhea testing to detect the presence of the infection. A sample is taken from the urine or the vaginal swab. Other clinics in Singapore also use different methods such as gonorrhea culture and gram stain. A gram stain requires a sample from the urethra to determine if the bacteria is present.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Tests for detecting HIV should be done as early as possible to slow down the progression of the infection to acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. There are three types of tests available for HIV patients today: nucleic acid tests (NATs), antibody tests and a combination of antigen and antibody tests. The specilaist will usually recommend a follow-up test even if you have tested negative in the first STD screening. Antibody tests will determine the presence of HIV antibodies from the blood or mouth fluid samples. NATs will try to find the virus in the blood sample. The doctor will not recommend this expensive method unless there is a high possibility that you are infected. The combination tests will look for both the HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in the blood sample. Most health care providers in Singapore will recommend this method.

Genital Herpes

This type of the herpes simplex virus usually affects the genitals. Testing for herpes can be tricky especially if you don’t see any symptoms. Blood tests are usually recommended for those who don’t experience anything unusual, while DNA tests and viral culture are done for those who have symptoms. The blood tests will look for antibodies IgG and IgM in the sample. The problem with the IgM test is that the antibodies appear if the person is already infected for life and may even disappear in the blood after a while. Testing for IgG is more accurate because it can even pinpoint the specific type of herpes simplex virus the person has contracted. For those patients who have symptoms, a culture test is performed after a swab sample is taken from a lesion. Besides cultures, DNA testing called NAAT might be preferred because it is more accurate.

Syphilis

Several syphilis detection tests are currently available, such as RPR, VDRL, FTA-ABS, microhemagglutination assay (MHA-TP), T. pallidum particle agglutination assay (TPPA), Darkfield microscopy, T. pallidum by PCR, and automated immunoassays for syphilis antibodies. The most common tests recommended by doctors are called antibody tests. They need blood samples or cerebrospinal fluid samples from the patient. Antibody tests are either nontreponemal or treponemal antibody tests. The former will determine the presence of antibodies that are not used to fight off the bacteria. The latter will look for antibodies that target the bacteria.

Trichomoniasis

Tests for trichomoniasis will look for the presence of the Trichomonas vaginalis parasite. The patient will have to submit samples of secretions from the vagina or urethra. The sample is then tested using three different methods. NAAT is the primary method used for STD testing. Others include a wet prep and culture. In the wet prep STD test, the sample is placed on a slide under a microscope. A culture on the other hand takes seven days for enough samples to be grown.

Human Papillomavirus

HPV testing is divided into two types; low-risk HPV and high-risk HPV. Low-risk HPV types are usually harmless and cause warts to appear in some parts of the body. High-risk HPV types cause cancer in men and women, that is why you still need to get an STD screening. Women are recommended to undergo a Pap test to look for abnormal cells in the cervix or detect any changes. The cells are taken from the cervix by scraping off a sample, which is then sent to the laboratory for examination. Hospitals in Singapore include HPV test in a Pap test. This is called co-testing and must be performed once every three years to detect cervical cancer. Unfortunately, there is no effective method for HPV testing in men yet.

Hepatitis B

The most common hepatitis types are HAV, HBV and HCV. You will need to get tested if you suspect you have STD, have had organ transplant or blood transfusion, have symptoms of liver disease, or if you’re sexually active. Initially, a blood test is recommended if the symptoms are present. Each type of hepatitis has a corresponding antigen and antibody that could be present in the blood sample. Then a second blood test is done to confirm the results and to look for complications. The doctor might also perform a liver biopsy and CAT scan or sonogram.