How Are STD Tests Done?
Your Guide to Sexual Health Screening

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor for any medical advice or concerns.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common, but knowledge about them is essential to prevent their spread. STD tests are a crucial tool in identifying and managing these conditions. In this article, we’ll explore what STDs are, who should get tested, where to go for testing, and how these tests are conducted.

What are STDs and STIs?

STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) are terms used to describe a group of infections that are primarily transmitted through sexual contact. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different meanings:

  1. STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases): STDs are infections that have progressed to the point of causing recognisable diseases or symptoms. In other words, when an individual with an STI starts showing physical signs or symptoms of the infection, it is then classified as an STD. Examples of STDs include syphilis, gonorrhoea, and herpes.
  2. STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections): STIs are infections that are caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms and can be transmitted through sexual contact. However, an individual with an STI may not display any noticeable symptoms or signs of disease. In some cases, an STI can remain in the body for an extended period without causing symptoms. Examples of STIs include those mentioned above (STDs) as well as chlamydia, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

Who Should Get Tested for STDs?

Anyone who is sexually active, especially with multiple partners or a new partner, should consider getting tested for STDs. Those with a higher risk of exposure, including individuals with multiple sexual partners, may need more frequent testing.

Where Can I Get Tested for STDs?

In Singapore, you can get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at various healthcare facilities and clinics. Here are some options:

The Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections Control (DSC) Clinic is a government-operated public health clinic that provides STD testing and treatment services.

There are numerous private clinics and medical centres in Singapore that specialise in STD testing services. Here at STD Screening Singapore, we provide caring, compassionate, and non-judgemental expertise on all sexual health and sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI) related issues.

Polyclinics in Singapore, such as those under the SingHealth and National Healthcare Group (NHG), offer various medical services, including STD testing. You can visit a polyclinic near you and consult with a healthcare provider.

Many general practitioners in private clinics provide STD testing and consultation services. You can make an appointment with a GP to discuss your testing needs.

Some online healthcare platforms offer at-home STD testing kits, allowing you to collect samples at home and send them to a laboratory for analysis. Make sure to choose a reputable online service and follow their instructions carefully.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable testing method based on your specific concerns and potential exposure. Additionally, consider the privacy and confidentiality of your test results when choosing a testing location.

How Do STD Tests Work?

STD tests work by detecting the presence of specific infections or the markers of these infections in your body. The methods used for testing can vary depending on the type of sexually transmitted disease (STD) being screened. Here’s a general overview of how STD tests work:

  • Some STDs, such as HIV, syphilis, and herpes, are detected through blood samples.
  • A healthcare provider will draw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm.
  • The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • In the lab, technicians look for antibodies or viral particles specific to the STD in question.
  • The results are usually available in a few days.
  • Urine tests are commonly used to screen for STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea.
  • You’ll provide a urine sample, usually during your visit to a healthcare facility.
  • The urine sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Urine test results are typically available within a few days.
  • Urine tests are the preferred option for men who are experiencing urinary/genital symptoms as the urinary and reproductive (sexual) systems are linked. Urine tests are less accurate for women but will still be the best option for those who are pregnant.
  • In some cases, a healthcare provider may visually inspect or physically examine the genital area.
  • This method is often used for the diagnosis of STDs like genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • If visible symptoms or abnormalities are present, a diagnosis can be made during the physical examination.
  • A swab may be used to collect samples from the genital, rectal, or oral areas, depending on the potential exposure.
  • Swabs are commonly employed to diagnose STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and herpes.
  • The collected samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis, where technicians look for the presence of bacteria or viral particles.
  • Results from swab tests are usually available within a few days.
  • Swabs are the best option for ladies experiencing genital symptoms. Urine tests are less accurate due to the female urinary and reproductive system being separate. Therefore urine tests may produce false negative results.

It’s important to note that the specific testing method can vary based on the type of STD being screened and the healthcare facility you visit. After getting tested, your healthcare provider will discuss the results with you, provide guidance on any necessary treatment, and offer advice on preventive measures and safe sex practices.

What to Do If I Test Positive?

Receiving a positive STD test result can be unsettling, but it’s crucial to take immediate action. Your healthcare provider will discuss treatment options with you, including antibiotics, antiviral medications, or other appropriate therapies. Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare provider. Complete the full course of medication as directed, even if your symptoms improve. Engage in any recommended follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. After treatment, adopt safe sex practices and get regular STD/STI screenings to prevent future infections.Be aware of the risk factors and take steps to reduce your risk, such as limiting the number of sexual partners and using protection.

Remember, most STDs are treatable or manageable, and it is possible to continue having a normal life. It is also essential to notify sexual partners so they can also get tested and treated if necessary. Early detection and treatment are crucial for managing STDs and STIs effectively. With timely medical care and responsible sexual behaviour, many infections can be treated and managed, reducing the risk of complications and transmission to others.


STD tests are vital for protecting your sexual health. They are easy to access and can help identify infections early, allowing for effective treatment and prevention of long-term complications. Regular testing, open communication with sexual partners, and safe sex practices are key to maintaining a healthy sexual life.

Disclaimer: We have attempted to provide full, accurate and up to date information in this blog, based on current medical evidence and opinion. However, information and advice may vary from different sources, and over time. If you have any further questions, see your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis of your concerns.

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Frequently Asked Questions


When should I go for STD screening?

You should consider screening if you have symptoms of a possible STD, if you have had a recent risky exposure (unprotected sex with a casual partner), or both.

Can I get STDs from oral sex?

Yes, you can. The common misconception is that oral sex is not considered ‘real’ sex and therfore has no risk but the opposite is true. Often oral sex is performed without protection and this is why infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can pass on through oral sex.

Can STDs be cured?

Thankfully the majority can be cured but there are some such as Herpes and HIV that can be treated but not cured. This is why prevention is better than cure and ensuring safe sex goes a long way to reduce your risks.

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