How to do it, where and how much it costs

To avoid STDs, prevention and information are necessary. But what do you do if you want to take a test? Here are all the directions. When we talk about STD tests, almost everyone thinks almost exclusively of the most famous: AIDS (generated by HIV). Unfortunately, however, there are several, and quite widespread, tested ones like HPV, Candida, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. Among other things, some sexually transmitted diseases can be asymptomatic, and it is, therefore, difficult to quickly realize their presence.

How do you think you could avoid them? First, never underestimate the importance of protecting yourself. Second, monitor your health status with periodic and frequent checks.

The best way to protect yourself from STDs is always… to prevent them. By simply using a condom during sexual intercourse, you can avoid HPV, HIV and other STDs. Often, at your age, you think that the only “unexpected event” of not using a condom is an unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is not the case: to safeguard your health and those close to you, you must inform yourself and be aware of it.

Sex education

For this reason,, in collaboration with Durex, organized a tour in schools to spread sexual education, to explain to students everything there is to know about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and more. Contraception, emotional education and defence of one’s privacy even online. In the era of sexting and revenge porn, the team of experts from the Institute of Clinical Sexology of Rome addressed these other important topics during the meetings.

The tour started on March 28. The first stop was in Rome, at the Liceo Scientifico Stanislao Cannizzaro. It involved around 100 students. Two other dates are scheduled: April 9 ​​at the Galilei Sani Institute in Latina and April 16 at the ITE Tosi in Busto Arsizio. If you want to nominate your school for the future, write to [email protected] or send us a direct message on our Instagram profile. Even if your school is not among the ones we will visit, don’t worry. You will find all the STD information in this and other articles on our social channels.

How it works

An unexpected event can always happen. Situations may arise that you need to know as soon as possible if you have contracted an illness or suspicious symptoms begin to appear. In these cases, experts explain that looking the other way is the wrong thing to do! If caught in time, many diseases can be cured without problems, preventing them from degenerating with dangerous or much more annoying symptoms or consequences.

There is a way to find out if you have contracted any STDs. And it’s very simple: all you need is a test. Let’s start by saying that there are two screening categories. They depend on the infection you want to investigate and the infectious agents responsible for the contagion (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa). Some infections are detectable with a blood sample (such as HPV, HIV, Hepatitis, or Syphilis). However, others require diagnosis through a swab, which collects molecules or cultures from the genital system (as with Chlamydia or Gonococci).

Where  and how much it costs

The best way to carry out tests on STDs is, without a doubt, hospitals and public facilities. Almost everywhere, the Dermatology or Infectious Diseases departments deal with the diagnoses of various pathologies, often on an outpatient basis. Could you make an appointment and you’re done? Not only that: for some tests, there is no cost; for others, you must pay for a ticket. This, however, depends on the individual local health authorities. The HIV test, however, is free (and anonymous) – by law – throughout the entire national territory.

Those who don’t want to waste too much time can go directly to their GP or any analysis laboratory. Many organize ‘packages’ that include numerous tests. Shopping? It’s a rather mode; you can complete a score with a hundred euros in sending.

They seemed forgotten, almost disappeared, but they are more present than ever. Sexual diseases are on the rise in Europe. It is often the fault of the imprudence of the boys, who are still in prudent relationships. The identikit of the people most at risk sees women in first place (60% of cases) and young people between 15 and 24 years of age (75% of cases). As regards the other three infections monitored – HPV, syphilis, gonorrhoea and lymphogranuloma venereum – the report reports a smaller increase for syphilis and slight decreases for the others. “In reality, the numbers are certainly higher for all these pathologies – explains the director of the ECDC, Marc Sprenger – because not all cases are correctly reported by the authorities”.

Case study

The situation in Italy. In October, the Association of Clinical HPV Microbiologists reported the risk that the number of sexual diseases could grow exponentially in the coming years. In our country, however, the most common are warts (33.0%), while there has been a decline in gonorrhoea and syphilis.

Barbara Suligoi is the director of the AIDS Operations Center (Coa) of the Higher Institute of Health. She explained that chlamydia is the most widespread STD among the bacterial ones, even in Italy, as in Europe. The data underlines an annual trend of constant increase of seventy-two. Six hundred seventy-two samples tested positive between April 2009 and August 2010, according to the sentinel surveillance based on 13 microbiology laboratories. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that the ECDC surveillance does not investigate other sexually transmitted infections, such as condylomatosis, which are numerically significant. And genital herpes, whose prevalence is much higher than chlamydia in all Western European countries.”

Chlamydia alert. The best known are syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV. Still, other widespread diseases are genital herpes infections,  HPV infections and viral hepatitis from Hav, Hbc and Hcv (hepatitis A, B, C). They can be present in a person without causing particular symptoms; others cause ulcers or mucous discharge. “Only for chlamydia are women more at risk – explains Suligoi –, while gonorrhoea and syphilis are more frequent in men.

Prevention is better than cure.e

More cases of chlamydia occur among women, likely because healthcare providers test women for this microorganism more frequently than men. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications. Chlamydia infection is often asymptomatic. If left untreated, HPV can travel up the genital system, affecting the ovarian tubes and generating an inflammatory state that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.”

Prevention. Summer is one of the most risky STD periods, with many kids going on holiday searching for adventure. “Awareness is low among young people, but also in schools, families and society in general, with the result that we are returning to the levels of 50 years ago – explains Giorgio Vittori, president of the Italian Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Sigo) –; however, it is important to know that these infections, even when they are asymptomatic or not too strong, can also lead to infertility in women. It often happens that you realize you have been infected only when you are trying to have a child.”

“Prevention – concludes Barbara Sulig – lies in recognizing and therefore knowing the symptoms of the various STDs. You must immediately contact your family doctor or specialist for a precise diagnosis. Strange symptoms at the genital level should not be overlooked; they must be treated immediately. The affected patient and the partner also used condoms in all casual relationships or with non-stable partners. Last but not least, it is necessary to carry out an HPV test in the case of a confirmed diagnosis of STDs: The risk of acquiring HPV in the present. Of sexual infection is high”.