Checking for Some of the Most Common STDs: Reliable Screening and Testing Options Malawi - Beauty Malawi Checking for Some of the Most Common STDs: Reliable Screening and Testing Options Malawi
. More than one million sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are acquired every single day across the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports
. Doing frequent STD tests is essential to minimize the spread of these infections.
Four common STDs dominate the infection landscape. Each year, 357 million people worldwide are infected with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis or trichomoniasis
. While significant medical advancements have been made, enabling the treatment of these conditions and other STDs, many people still don’t get tested. This is a serious problem because STDs often go asymptomatic for prolonged periods of time, increasing the risk of sexual partner infections.
There have been troublesome studies from Malawi, as well as other parts of the world.
One clinical trial presented in the Journal of Adolescent Health found out that only 11.5 percent
of adolescents and young adults got themselves checked for an STD over the past year. Of the individuals aged 15 to 25 who were sexually active and questioned in the survey, 42 percent said that they didn’t believe themselves to be at any risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Social awkwardness about the topic, poor sexual education and the fact that STDs still largely come with some stigma attached all stand in the way of getting checked regularly.
The truth of the matter is, however, that checking for STDs has become simpler than ever in Malawi. Every single sexually active person should be doing an STD test
at least once per year, even if they’re not engaging in risky behaviours.
STD anonymous tests are available and in most instances, the results will become instantly available. If you’re still a bit hesitant about getting checked for common STDs, here’s everything you should understand.
Why Is Checking for STDs So Important?
Whether you’re in a monogamous relationship or you don’t have a steady partner, checking for common sexually transmitted infections annually is of utmost importance.
Here are some of the reasons why you need to go through the process regularly:
- STD tests are efficient, reliable and accurate
- They are readily provided through sexual health clinics in Malawi and even through your general practitioner
- A simple blood draw or a swab test will be sufficient to give you information about your status
- Even if you don’t experience STD symptoms, you could still be infected
- Even if you don’t experience STD symptoms, you could be passing the infection to a sexual partner
- The earlier an STD is identified, the more efficient the treatment is going to be
- In addition, some STDs can have serious consequences (like infertility, for example) if they’re untreated for prolonged periods of time
- Many sexual health clinics can check for STDs free of charge – there’s no excuse even if your budget is limited
- Even if you’re having protected sex, there’s still some minor risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection
- If you have new partner or you engage in casual sex, you can’t take other people’s words for granted – you should both get checked out to ensure peace of mind
Are these reasons sufficient to have you heading to a sexual health clinic nearby? Let’s hope so! Getting checked for STDs is simple and mostly painless, its the treatments that maybe painful
. Here are some of the common conditions you can get checked for and how each one of the screening sessions unfolds.
Checking for Gonorrhoea
ranks among the most common STDs
. It is a bacterial infection that can spread through all kinds of sexual contact, including oral. Gonorrhoea happens to be most common among young people, affecting predominantly those in the 15 to 24 age range.
Some of the most common STD symptoms linked to gonorrhoea include:
- A burning sensation during urination
- White, yellow or green vaginal or penile discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Swelling in the testicles
These symptoms, however, are also common for other types of STDs. Thus, looking for STD testing near you is the best way to determine whether you’re dealing with gonorrhoea.
A gonorrhoea test involves the taking a sample either from the cervix in the case of women or from the urethra in the case of men. The swab will then be analysed for the presence of the bacteria.
While at home testing STD kits may be available in Malawi, this isn’t the most reliable way to check for a gonorrhoea infection. The best approach would be to visit a clinic and do a STD test.
You don’t need to prepare in advance. The lab technician or physician at the clinic will know exactly what to do. They’ll guide you through the process and answer any additional questions you may have about the condition.
Keep in mind that when the gonorrhoea infection isn’t identified and treated, it can contribute to serious problems. In women, gonorrheas can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease
, the formation of scar tissue inside the fallopian tubes and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies. In men, gonorrhoea increases the risk of infertility.
Since this is a bacterial infection, gonorrhoea can be cured via antibiotics administration.
Checking for Chlamydia
Checking for chlamydia
in Malawi is another simple process because this sexually transmitted infection also happens to be quite common.
This is another treatable sexually transmitted disease. Chlamydia is also very tricky because many of the people who get it will never exhibit STD symptoms. For those who do have signs, the common ways in which the infection expresses itself include:
- Lower abdominal pain in women
- Abnormal bleeding and vaginal discharge
- Painful sex for women
- Pain and burning during urination
- Pus discharge from the penis
- A swollen scrotum
- Testicle tenderness
A swab test will once again have to be performed to collect a small sample from inside the vagina or the urethra. In some Malawi sexual health clinics, a urine sample could be collected when checking for STDs like chlamydia.
Results typically become available within a week of getting checked. If you already have symptoms, chances are that the clinic will work harder to make the results available sooner so that both you and your partner(s) can get the required treatment.
Checking for Syphilis
also ranks among the infections that can be treated effortlessly with antibiotics. If it’s not addressed soon after the infection occurs, however, the consequences can be serious.
The easiest way to check for a syphilis infection involves a blood draw. In this case, the screening will be looking for antibodies in your blood. If your body is making antibodies, you’re infected and additional testing will have to take place.
Keep in mind that even if you’ve had syphilis in the past and you were treated for it, the infection can occur again
. Thus, you need to be checking for STDs every single year if you’re sexually active. Those who engage in risky behaviours (one night stands, unprotected sex) should be checking for STDs even more frequently – at least two times per year.
Syphilis blood test results could become available in as soon as a day. If you do test too soon, you may get a false negative. Your body needs a couple of weeks to begin forming antibodies. Hence, you may want to wait a month or two after unprotected contact to get checked for a syphilis infection.
Checking for Trichomoniasis
The symptoms of trichomoniasis
are so similar to those of other sexually transmitted infections that a physical exam will be insufficient to diagnose the condition.
This infection is caused by a parasite and it tends to go asymptomatic in both men and women for prolonged periods of time.
Checking for trichomoniasis should occur at least 28 days
after sexual contact since this is the length of the incubation period.
The test will once again involve the collection of a swab sample from inside the vagina for women or a urine sample for men. In the past, growing a culture was needed to identify the presence of the parasite. Today, screening options have become faster and much more reliable. Antigen tests are more accurate and they provide results within a very short period of time.
While trichomoniasis doesn’t contribute to significant complications, there’s one major exception. In pregnant women, it can contribute to premature delivery and other issues. Hence, if you are planning to get pregnant, you’ve seen a positive test or you suspect that you may be pregnant, doing a trichomoniasis screening will be of paramount importance.
Checking for Other STDs
While these are four of the most common STDs to check for, there are other sexually transmitted infections that you have to be aware of.
Places that offer STD anonymous testing options in Malawi often develop packages that ensure screening for the most common infections out there. Apart from the ones already mentioned, such screening packages could also be checking for STDs like HIV
, hepatitis mycoplasma genitalium and human papilloma virus (HPV).
If you want to get checked simultaneously for the most common sexually transmitted infections, you’ll typically have to go through a swab test and a blood sample will also need to be taken from you.
Depending on the types of STDs you’ll be checking for and the specifics of the screening option, the practitioner at the reproductive health clinic will give you a clear guideline about the amount of time required to get your results.
Usually, reproductive health clinics will advise their patients to go back and collect results in person rather than online.
Visiting the clinic for result analysis is a good choice if you have questions.
Many people find it difficult to interpret the screening results, especially if they get a positive test. Going back to the reproductive health clinic will give you a chance to consult a professional and understand the steps you’ll have to go through from that point forward.
Can You Get STD Screening for Free?
In Malawi, there could be procedures that enable people to get checked for STDs for free.
For a start, look for reproductive clinics that have such services. While it may be impossible to get checked for all STDs free of charge, campaigns could be organised periodically to increase awareness and get people to test themselves most often. Free of charge HIV testing
could also be typically available.
Going through your general practitioner and asking for a referral is another possibility for free of charge STD testing.
If your doctor says no, visit another practitioner and explain your reasons for wanting to get checked. Most responsible physicians will not turn away patients who want to have a diagnostic procedure done.
There’s one final option to keep in mind.
When you donate blood, the sample will always be checked for some of the most common viral sexually transmitted infections like HIV and hepatitis. You will be doing a good thing for somebody else and you’ll also get a free of charge check.
Finally, understand the fact that most STDs are curable. Even HIV is no longer a death sentence.
Hence, there’s nothing scary about getting checked for sexually transmitted infections. In fact, such basic and simple procedures could prove to be life-saving.
You owe it to yourself and to your partners to check for some of the most common health risks stemming from sexual activity. We live in a world where even protected sex could contribute to some risks. Don’t leave it to chance to determine if you’re going to be healthy and free from an STD. A reproductive health clinic near you has the answers. STD screening is painless, efficient, reliable and inexpensive. There’s really no excuse and if you haven’t gotten screened this year, the time may be right to schedule a visit.