Is STD Testing the Same for Men and Women? Here's What You Can Expect at the Doctor's

Is STD Testing the Same for Men and Women? Here's What You Can Expect at the Doctor's

It's impossible for STD (more commonly referred to as STI) testing to be completely the same for everyone because, well, different people have different private parts. But the basic components of STI testing are generally the same for all people, and it's important for all sexually active people of any gender to get tested.

People of all genders must ask their healthcare providers for STI screening if they want it — it's not generally included in during annual physicals or routine checkups, according to Mayo Clinic.

Read more: 4 Reliable At-Home STD Tests for When Something's Wrong Down There but the Doctor Is Out

Two of the most commonly spread STIs, chlamydia and gonorrhea, involve a simple, painless test. It requires a urine test for all genders or a swab in the cervix and a swab of the tip of the penis, according to Mayo Clinic. Some STIs require a blood sample — again, same rules apply for both genders.

Here are different methods of STI testing required depending on the disease, according to Planned Parenthood:

Physical exam — Your health care provider may examine you for any signs of an infection, such as a rash, discharge, sores, or warts. For women, this exam can be similar to a pelvic exam.

Urine sample — You may be asked to pee into a cup at your clinic/doctor's office. Urine samples can be used to test for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Discharge, tissue, cell or saliva sample — Your provider will use a swab to collect samples that will be looked at under a microscope. These samples can test for certain STDs, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, or HIV.

Blood sample — Your provider may take a blood sample, either with a needle or by pricking the skin to draw drops of blood. These can be used, for example, to test for syphilis, herpes, or HIV.

"I was shocked by how simple and quick the HIV test was," Kunal Arora wrote in an advice piece for Sex, Etc. on STI testing. "The nurse explained that I just needed to put a swab into my mouth and rub it against my gums. Within 20 minutes, I knew my results."

Here are four ways to check for an STI at home if you can't make it to the doctor.