STD TESTING – ENGLISH SPEAKING CLINIC IN ROME FOR STD SCREENING
When it comes to STD detection, open communication with a health care professional is essential. Knowing your enemy, recognizing the signs, treating infections early and monitoring your health over time is of great help for prolonged sexual health.
- Have you had unprotected sex with one or more partners, either recently or in the past?
- Are you worried about transmitting an STD to your partner?
- Are you experiencing any symptoms – including those typical for a simple UTI – that are not subsiding with a common treatment?
Staying worried won’t help, and delaying treatment can be very dangerous.
Talk with an English speaking doctor about the likelihood that you have contracted an STD, the appropriate treatment for your case, which STD tests you need to do and how to reduce the risks of contracting an STD while still having an active sexual life.
For your peace of mind, in case you have doubts it’s always better to take the test. At our clinic in Rome, we perform fast, reliable, and nearly painless STD tests. for an assessment of your needs. You can take the tests on the same day in a friendly and non judgemental environment in the center of Rome. Your privacy will be protected throughout the process, the results will be shared only with you and the doctor will follow up on the effectiveness of your treatment, even if you need to leave Italy.
Useful Information about STDs and Sexual Health
Sexually transmitted diseases are extremely common among the population. When contracted, some can go unnoticed for years, contributing to their transmission to partners and to the development of other serious conditions: untreated STDs can lead to infertility in both men and women, to contracting other infectious diseases like HIV, to cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Infection can occur due to an unprotected sexual encounter, exchange of bodily fluids, and any kind of sexual contact without a latex barrier, including oral sex.
The good news is that there are simple tests that allow your doctor to diagnose a potential STD.
Why should I get an STD test?
- To have peace of mind about any sexual encounter that may have put you at risk
- To avoid infecting your partner
- To detect diseases that have no symptoms but can be very dangerous
- To recognize the type of STD and start the appropriate therapy (often effective and painless)
- To obtain a certificate that you are not affected by HIV or other STDs
What are the most common signs of an ongoing infection?
- Burning sensation while passing urine
- Urethral discharge
- Vaginal discharge (purulent or watery)
- Ulcers in the pelvic area
- Pain during intercourse
- Rash in the groin area
- Testicular swelling
- Bleeding after intercourse or spotting between periods
- Blood traces in urine
- Vaginal pain or testicular pain
- Unusual smell or color of the vaginal discharge
Which common STDs should I get tested for?
- HIV: This virus attacks the immune system and makes it more susceptible to other infections and diseases. People who contract HIV may have flu like symptoms within a few weeks, but they may also show no symptoms for years.
- Syphilis: This bacterial infection is not very common anymore, but it is extremely dangerous if left untreated, it is highly contagious and it can lead to death. For this reasons a comprehensive STD testing should always include it. Untreated syphilis has four stages: a lesion appears – similar to an infected sore on the penis, vagina or around the mouth. In the secondary phase patients develop a rash and possibly a sore throat. This is followed by a latent phase, in which the patient is still contagious. In the tertiary phase, syphilis is not contagious but it spreads systemic damage in the body and may cause dementia, stroke, blindness and ultimately death.
- Chlamydia: This bacterial infection affects both men and women. Chlamydia is the most common STI. Most of the times there are no signs of its presence and if left untreated it can cause very serious complications. In up to 40% of women, untreated infections can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), leading to permanent damage to the the reproductive organs, to chronic pelvic pain, infertility, pregnancy complications, and a five times higher likelihood to become infected with HIV.
- Gonorrhea: This bacterial infection can affect the urethra, vagina, rectum, throat and eyes. If left untreated, Gonorrhea can spread to the blood and joints, causing serious health problems. Most men will develop symptoms within a few days, while about 50% of women will show no signs. Symptoms include vaginal or urethral discharge, pain during urination, burning sensation. Gonorrhoea can infect other parts of the body, causing red and painful eyes, sore throat, anal discharge and itching.
- Mycoplasma: This bacterial infection can infect both men and women. It results in a form of urethritis – an infection of the urinary trait. Without performing a specific test it can be mistaken for any other urinary trait infection, thus failing to treat it with the appropriate medication.
- Genital herpes (also known as “herpes simplex virus” or “HSV“): This viral infection is extremely common among men and women and can show no symptoms for years. When present, symptoms include blisters and small lesions in the groin and genital area, thighs, buttocks and in the form of mouth sores. Symptoms can be improved significantly through medication, especially if detected early, while they can be described as an itching sensation and red spots, before becoming painful open sores. The first outbreak is generally the most severe and painful. It can be followed by other episodes. Treatment can significantly speed the healing process and reduce the risk of passing it to partners.
- Genital warts (“human papilloma virus” or “HPV“): This viral infection is so common than nearly all sexually active people enter in contact with HPV at some point in their life. There are many kinds of HPV, some are harmless and resolve on their own, while others can cause genital warts. Some specific kinds of HPV are related to cervical cancer in women and certain types of cancer in men. A vaccine is available for young men and women (up to 25 years old). Careful monitoring is crucial for prevention of severe consequences.
- Pubic lice (commonly referred as Crabs): these very small, white-gray parasites live on the skin, hair and clothes of humans. Noticeable symptoms include itching, red and scaly skin, small blue spots. A doctor will be able to recognize their presence and prescribe an effective treatment with a simple examination, without the need of further tests.
- Hepatitis A, B, and C: These viral infections affect the liver and can lead to serious consequences. There is a vaccine for Hepatitis A and B. They can be transmitted with sexual activity and may show no symptoms. A blood test can effectively diagnose the presence of either of these infections and is essential for treating them properly and avoiding to infect others. Find more information on WHO page for Hepatitis.
- Trichomoniasis: This infection is caused by a microscopic parasite that can infect the vagina and urethra in women and the urethra and prostate in men. The symptoms include unusual discharge (greenish-yellow color), with a fishy odor, pain when passing urine or during sexual intercourse, pain and itching in the groin area, a general feeling of discomfort. Symptoms may not be present, but it’s important to get tested to prevent transmission to someone else. As with most other STDs, trichomonas makes you more likely to get HIV.
Who should get tested for STDs and when?
- All men and women with an active sexual life (including teenagers) should get periodically screened for HIV – the advantages of early detection are much higher than the costs
- Women who have had sex without a condom or who have had sex with more than one partner should be screened every year for gonorrhea and chlamydia
- Women ages 21 to 65 should have a Pap test every 3 years to screen for HPV to detect early insurgence of cervical cancer
- All men and women who are having sex and either do not have a stable partner or are having sex with more than one partner should get screened for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
- All pregnant women should be screened for syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitis B.
- Men and women who are infected with HIV should be screened at least once for hepatitis A, B, and C. They should also be screened at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
- Women who are infected with HIV should be screened at least once a year for trichomonas.
- Men who are infected with HIV and who have sex with men HIV should be screened at least once a year for hepatitis C.
- Men who have sex with men should be screened for hepatitis A, B, and C. They should also be screened at least once a year for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
What is the treatment in case the STD test is positive?
- most bacterial sexually transmitted infections can be cured with a course of the appropriate antibiotics
- some STDs resolve on their own, but it is important to be aware of their presence to avoid infecting others
- some STIs require an injection, single or repeated, that can be performed by the doctor
- viral STIs need to be managed with an appropriate treatment specific to the kind of disease
- genital warts can be removed with electrocautery
- symptoms of all STDs can be reduced and improved with the appropriate therapy prescribed by the doctor
- HIV requires specific therapy in different phases. Early detection and action is of crucial importance for an effective treatment
Will everyone at the medical center know I'm getting tested for STDs?
- NO! Our patients do tests for many reasons other than STIs, like food allergies or preventive medicine. No one around you will know what you are being tested for.
- The clinic is designed to be comfortable and private. You will speak with the doctor in his office, collect blood/urine/swab samples and walk out.
- We go beyond standard industry practices to provide you with the highest level of privacy and confidentiality.
- Your results will be sent ONLY TO YOU personally, and no one else, not even your insurance provider.
- No one will know from us that you have been to our clinic for testing. Only you can decide who to share this information with.
The first step is a consultation with the doctor, necessary for assessing the risk of having contracted an STD, based on the discussion of exposure occasions and the evaluation of symptoms, if any. Then the doctor and patient agree on the set of tests and proceed to the collection of blood, urine, or swab samples.
Some STDs may take a few days to be detectable, others up to a few months. In case of sexual contact with a partner that may carry and STD, or any new partner it is important to get tested soon. After 2 weeks from the contact, some of the infections can already be detected, so that the appropriate treatment can be started right away.
If you are looking for STD testing in Rome we are here to help you. In our English speaking clinic you can have a consultation with a doctor and have a complete set of tests.
For more information regarding your sexual health, you can consult the page dedicated to Gynecology (for women) and Urology (for men and women).