Dear Mahogany,

Can I get tested for STDs while I’m on my period? I’ve been told that the doctor will need to take a swab inside me with a cotton bud to get the vaginal discharge he’ll need to test.

Do I need to wait till after my period? If not, wont menstrual blood disturb my Pap Smear results?

I really need to take the test as soon as possible.

-Tola


Dear Tola,

First of all, a Pap Smear does NOT test for STDs. A Pap smear is a screening procedure that tests for precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. It only checks for cervical cancer and does not include a screen for STDs

For STI, testing is done by taking high vaginal swabs ( HVS) and collecting body fluids, which are sent to the lab. Testing for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis is done with a blood sample. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is done with a urine sample, and/or a swab.

Yes, you can go to the gynecologist when you’re on your period if your complaints is an irregular cycle or heavy period or anything that has to with your period. If not, it is better to wait till after your period to get accurate results.

In both Pap Smear and HVS, menstrual blood can get in the way of proper testing an may muddle up your results.

However, if your problem is really as pressing as you say, you should have a talk with your doctor about what risks you have been exposed to and what symptoms you may have. He or she can tell you what kind of tests you’ll need.

Love,

Mahogany


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