Diagnosing sexually transmitted infections
Why and when should you get tested?
If you are experiencing any symptoms and you suspect having a sexually transmitted infection (STI), immediately go to a doctor to get checked out. Don’t hope for the disease to clear up on its own. If left untreated, STIs can cause serious complications over time.
Unfortunately, many sexually transmitted infections have no symptoms.
You should see a doctor if:
- You have had unprotected sex with a new or casual sex partner;
- You have or your partner has multiple sex partners;
- Your partner has been diagnosed with an STI.
It would be wise for both partners to get tested before starting a new sexual relationship so you could both be sure that you are in a safe sexual relationship.
You should also get tested if you are planning to get pregnant and/or are in the early stages of pregnancy. STIs are transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery. It may result in a miscarriage or the newborn being infected along with all the associated complications.
How are STIs tested?
For some STIs a sample is taken from the genital tracts. For instance, for diagnosing chlamydia, trichomoniasis and gonorrhoea, women have to take a vaginal swab or a cervical smear test. Men have to take a urethral swab or give a urine sample. If necessary, a cotton swab may also be used to collect a sample from the throat and/or rectum.
Some STIs require a blood sample. This is how, for example, syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B are diagnosed.
Where can you get tested for STIs?
There are many institutions in Estonia where STIs can be diagnosed and treated, such as general practitioner’s offices, dermatovenerologist’s offices, andrologist’s offices or gynaecologist’s offices.