Bacterial culture can identify the majority of bacterial STDs. Culture has long been regarded the gold standard test for chlamydia and gonorrhea because it can identify even extremely low quantities of bacteria in a sample. It can also detect the presence of antibiotics in samples taken from patients who have recently been treated for these infections.
Culture tests are performed by taking a sample of material from the patient's infection site and placing it in a laboratory medium. The medium allows the bacteria to grow and be identified by testing methods such as microscopy or DNA amplification techniques. No treatment will be started based on the results of a single culture, but multiple cultures over time may be needed before an appropriate course of action can be determined.
The sensitivity of culture tests for the detection of chlamydia and gonorrhea is very high, but there are factors that can affect their accuracy including the quality of the specimen collected, the level of bacteria present in the infection site, and the type of bacteria involved. For this reason, culture results should be interpreted in the context of other information about the patient and their infection. A positive culture result does not necessarily indicate that the patient has or will develop disease - only a fraction of people infected with any one of these organisms will ever show signs or symptoms.
Culture tests are more expensive than other diagnostic tests used for STDs.
A blood test can identify the majority of STDs. This includes HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C, genital herpes, and chlamydia. The blood test may also detect cancer if it has spread from its original site. A doctor will usually ask about your sexual history and perform a physical examination before ordering this test.
How does a blood test work? Blood samples are taken from a vein in your hand or arm. The sample is sent to the lab, where it is analyzed for signs of infection. With HIV, other tests must be done because there are no signs of infection until very late in the disease process.
What do all these numbers mean? When you go to the doctor's office for your blood test, they will tell you what each number means. These are called laboratory results. They are important because they tell us what kinds of diseases we are at risk for, what kind of treatment we might need, and sometimes how well our organs are working.
Why get tested for STDs? Getting tested gives you the chance to learn about your health and take steps to keep yourself safe. Testing also allows for early detection and treatment of infections.
Some sexually transmitted illnesses can be detected using urine cultures. A urine culture, on the other hand, is not the preferred test for sexually transmitted infections in adults. Some STDs, such as chlamydia, may be tested with a urine sample, however the technology utilized identifies chlamydia genetic material in the urine rather than a culture. For most STDs, a blood test is required to detect infection.
Most STIs may be detected via urine or blood tests. Your doctor can request urine or blood tests to screen for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other sexually transmitted diseases. These tests are also useful for monitoring your treatment progress.
Blood tests may include: HIV-1/2 antibody screening test to detect if you have been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS. The two-part test uses different methods to identify whether you have antibodies developed against HIV-1 or HIV-2 viruses. If either part of the test is positive, further testing is needed to determine which type of virus you were exposed to and whether you are infected.
Syphilis tests use a blood sample to check for the bacteria that cause syphilis. Your blood will first be checked for signs of infection. If no signs are found, a second test must be done at least four weeks later to confirm infection has been cleared.
Your sexual history with your partner's history should be reviewed with you before any testing begins. This will help your doctor identify risk factors that may require further investigation or treatment.