STD testing is something that still seems a little taboo to discuss openly, but at AFC Urgent Care Portland, we know that it's another essential part of making sure our patients are healthy. When it comes to STD testing Portland residents know they count on our staff to provide professional and caring services.

In fact, when it comes to STD testing Portland residents often come to us with plenty of questions -- which is great! -- and we figured it would be even better to provide our patients with some basic information to their most common questions, all before even stepping into the office.

Who should get tested … and when? It's highly recommended that anyone who is currently sexually active, or has been sexually active in the past, should be tested for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Even patients who have only been sexually active with one partner should be tested. You do not need to be exhibiting any symptoms to ask for an STD screening.

Why is it so important to get tested? There are a few good reasons: to protect your own health, to protect the health of your partner(s), and to receive early treatment for an infection you didn't realize you have. If nothing else, it's also good to give yourself peace of mind.

What STDs do people typically get tested for? Patients may request just one test, or they can choose to get tested for multiple STDs. The most common STDs are: HPV (Human Papillomavirus), gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes (type 1 and/or type 2), HIV, and hepatitis (B and/or C).

How do doctors test for STDs? This depends on which STD tests you've requested. Some STDs require a physical examination by a trained doctor or nurse who will examine the genital region for signs of infection. Other STDs are tested through blood samples, and sometimes you may be asked to provide a fluid sample (urine, saliva, or discharge) for a lab technician to test.

Why am I so scared about this?! It's completely normal to feel all the emotions -- or none of the emotions -- when you schedule an STD screening. Part of the scared feeling comes from thinking that you could have had an STD without knowing it. Part of it comes from worrying about your own long-term health, and also the possibility of passing on an STD to a partner.

A large part of that fear simply comes from the shame and stigma that has accompanied STDs in the past; it may even come from a previous STD screening experience that was psychologically traumatizing because the staff exhibited judgment.

The important thing to remember is that AFC Urgent Care always provides superior STD testing Portland residents can count on.