Many individuals with a sexually transmissible infection (STI) are asymptomatic and do not realize that have it. The purpose of screening is to identify STI’s in clients who have no symptoms. Gonorrhea or chlamydia of the throat or rectum are usually asymptomatic. They are only detected upon screening or when a sexual partner reports urethral symptoms. The initial painless chancre of syphilis can go unnoticed in the throat or rectum. HIV and hepatitis infections are often silent.
We offer a wide range of screening tests for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis A, B and C, trichomonas and syphilis. (Even though many places offer it, there is not good screening test for herpes infection or HPV in men; rather these are identified only when a sore or wart develop.)
Individuals who are sexually active, especially those with multiple partners, should be screened every 3-6 months. Screening usually involves collecting simple blood and urine samples here in our office. (We no longer swab the male’s urethra.) Gay men should also have their throats and rectums swabbed, depending on what type of sexual behaviors they practice.
Screening is also an important way to assure an individual is disease-free and will not be responsible for passing an unrecognized STI to a new partner. Finally, screening can be a useful tool in identifying who might benefit from protective vaccines against hepatitis or who is a good candidate for taking Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce risk for HIV.