STI Tests for Women

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The differences between male and female anatomy mean that certain tests for sexually transmitted infections are markedly different in one sex when compared to the other. That being said, as this article will show, other tests remain pretty much the same regardless of whether it is a woman or a man being tested.

Testing women for STIs through blood tests

Women are tested for some infections in the same way as men, and the blood test is a good example of this. A blood sample is given for this test, and is then given to a specialist laboratory for examination. Once in the lab, your blood sample is either tested for antibodies or for the presence of the pathogens causing an infection.

Antibodies are small compounds produced by your  body as part of a complex defense system. Antibodies are specific to particular infectious agents, meaning that the antibodies that work to defend you against Herpes will be very different to the ones which defend you against the Flu. Because of this specificity, antibodies are a useful diagnostic tool and are used particularly for the detection of the Herpes Simplex virus.

If your blood isn’t being tested for antibodies, it will probably be studied under a microscope or by some other means to detect the presence of the actual bacteria or fungus causing your illness.

Testing women for STIs through urine tests

Urine tests are a fairly standard and routine method of detecting sexually transmitted infections. They are simple and effective, and can yield very accurate diagnoses because most STIs affect the urethra, a structure running from the bladder through to the end of the vagina. Therefore when you urinate, the fluid passes through the urethra picking up any pathogens therein.

Testing women for STIs through vaginal swabs

As mentioned above, many STIs affect the urethra, and as such taking a sample from inside the vagina is an effective method of testing for STIs. This is the test that is obviously different in women, and is the equivalent to the penile swab. Once the sample is taken it is sent off for analysis to a lab, and is treated like a urine or blood test in that it is examined for the presence of particular pathogens.

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