There is a growing number of women who are declining routine pap tests and pelvic exams, but Doctors have found a way around this. Doctors are now promoting yearly sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing together with a pelvic exam they claim goes with it. While many women are saying no to STD testing, there are some who agree to testing and who are also willing to tolerate the pelvic exam that Doctors are including. However, a pelvic exam is not necessary to test for STD’s. Blood and urine is all that is required to test for STD’s, the same way in which men are only required to supply blood and urine for the exact same tests.
Most Doctors will not offer a choice, so women who are asymptomatic/who do not wish to undergo a pelvic exam but who still want to be tested for STD’s will need to speak up. If your Doctor wants to conduct a “whiff test”/”pH test”, which requires taking a swab from your vagina, you should know that these tests merely indicate bacteria and pH level of your vaginal secretions – they do not test for STD’s. Both vaginal pH and presence of bacteria are often transitory meaning they will fluctuate depending on your time of the month, whether or not you have recently taken a bath, engaged in intercourse, used a tampon, etc. You do not need a whiff test or a pH test to test for STD’s.
Doctors have recently added a test for Trichomoniasis to the list, an STD that causes itching/burning/odor. If you suspect you have this and want to include it in testing, you will need to ask to perform a self vaginal swab. However, Trichomoniasis is difficult to diagnose due to the poor sensitivity of the tests. Both men and women can contract this STD but doctors do not usually bother to test men for it. If you do not wish this test included you have the right to decline. Do your research, protect your healthy mind and body.
A number of web sites reveal urine and blood tests are not only much less invasive to test for STD’s, they are also more accurate. Excerpts and links to sites with more information:
Private Testing Center provides affordable testing for HIV and STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis b & c. All of our HIV testing and STD testing is done through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.
Guidelines from laboratory: Send 5-10 cc of first void urine for gonorrhea and chlamydia NAT.
For Syphilis draw blood in purple or red top tube.
For chlamydia and gonorrhea “you can request the new urine tests instead of having to undergo an uncomfortable swabbing of your urethra.”
There is a quick and easy test for chlamydia and gonorrhea that can be done without a pelvic exam and without swabs. It simply involves urinating in a cup and the office sending the urine sample to a lab to test for these STDs. . . Testing for other STDs, including HIV and hepatitis B, is from blood tests.
Should You Get a Herpes Blood Test? If your doctor is unable or unwilling to perform a blood test for herpes, and you want to get screened, I highly recommend visiting your local STD clinic. STD clinics often have better resources for comprehensive STD screening than doctors in private practice. However, since some areas have formal guidelines that recommend against generalized testing for herpes antibodies, you may need to argue for why it is important to you to receive a herpes blood test. A known exposure is generally considered an acceptable reason to want to be screened for herpes, even when the desire to inform yourself and your partner(s) is not.
The following methods can be used to detect Trichomoniasis (T. vaginalis):
- In men a urethral swab and in women a high vaginal swab (can be self-collected) can be sent to the laboratory for culture of the organism. It is harder to detect T. vaginalis in men and false negatives are common. Reliability may be improved by combining a urethral swab with a urine sample for culture. It is often recommended that male sexual partners of infected females receive empiric treatment (without relying on culture results); however a full STI screen is still recommended due to the increased likelihood of co-infection with other STIs.
- Wet mount microscopy – a small amount of vaginal discharge is placed on a slide with a few drops of saline and immediately examined under a microscope. The organism may be visible, but only for 10 to 20 minutes after collection of the sample. Excess white blood cells may also been seen in this fluid and indicates accompanying inflammation.
- Cervical smear tests sometimes note the presence of trichomonads, however false positives can occur (less likely with liquid based cytology) so this should be confirmed with culture. A cervical smear test cannot be used as a screening test for trichomoniasis, due to the high number of false negatives.