STD testing is important as a way of verifying and maintaining your sexual health, but a visit to your general practitioner for this purpose might not actually be your best option.
Here is a look at your testing options and why you may want to consider other testing options when it comes to checking for STDs.
Easy option might not be the best option
It is a good idea that you learn more about STD testing so that you can make an informed decision and know what your options are.
If you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted disease, it is important to determine if this is the case, both for your own sexual and general health, as well as your partner’s. Take urgent action to confirm whether your fears are founded or not.
It makes sense that you consider a visit to your regular general practitioner in order to be tested, as they know your health history and you may potentially feel less uncomfortable calling them to seek assistance on this delicate subject.
However, it could also be the exact opposite. You may feel really uncomfortable about the prospect of talking to your primary care doctor about your sex life, which is where an STD clinic can seem like a better option.
There may also a number of other valid personal reasons why a visit to your usual doctor for this type of problem might not be the best option.
Wider range of testing options
The most obvious advantage of using an STD testing facility is that they are specialists, meaning that you will gain access to a wider range of testing options, which could prove important.
You will often find that the STD testing options available when you visit a private clinic are far more comprehensive than those you might find in a number of general medical offices.
These medical providers are going to be well-informed and up to date on current STD treatment regimens, meaning that you are most likely to get testing that is targeted in the right way. Subsequently, they can offer highly relevant and effective treatment options where necessary.
It is also worth noting that your doctor might not be able to offer you the most convenient option of urine tests for certain STDs. An STD testing center in comparison is generally more likely to be able to offer a more comprehensive range of testing options.
If you decide to visit your doctor, insurance could turn out to be a big issue.
The level of insurance that you have will almost certainly determine the extent of your cover for the testing, or whether you have any coverage for testing at all.
If that is the case then visiting your doctor for STD treatment could turn out to be the most expensive option. You may end up having to co-pay and you may also be asked to pay for any preventative screening.
You may well find that an STD clinic that charges for testing could turn out being the cheaper option.
The delicate issue of discrimination
It should never be the case that your doctor displays any level of discrimination as a result of you coming to them with a sexually transmitted disease. The level of professionalism that a doctor is required to conduct at all times should prevent that from happening.
Even so, there have been scenarios where a patient wasn’t offered the right level of support or access to the right treatments. This has been due to what you could only describe as a stigmatized diagnosis.
You may well have the highest level of confidence that your doctor wouldn’t attempt to make any call that is based on a tainted view of your sexual history, and the vast majority of medical professionals would balk at the very suggestion of discrimination. However, what you can say is that visiting an STD clinic is highly unlikely to result in a potential scenario like this unfolding. They are simply there to provide confidential and unbiased support and testing options, to help you deal with a situation that you no doubt already feel uncomfortable about.
Your sexual health is a highly personal matter. Maybe not something you want to share with your doctor anyway, which is just one reason why a visit to an STD clinic might be a better option.
Natalie Martin is a freelance writer, and when she is not working on her next article she can usually be found in her garden. She attended the University of Cincinnati before turning to writing, and now spends much of her time drawing attention to some of the major health problems that are plaguing the country today. Natalie resides along the Gulf Coast with her 6 year old Labrador Retriever.