Glossary of Common Std Testing Terms

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As there is quite a bit of technical medical terminology that comes with STD testing, the below guide should help you understand all that comes with your test and results.

Acute

An acute illness or symptom is one that has a very quick lifecycle – it not only onsets quickly, but also leaves the body quickly. Just because an illness or symptom is acute and therefore leaves quickly, it does not mean it can only be a mild illness – acute cases can also be quite severe in some instances.

Antibodies

Antibodies are proteins that are found in blood or other bodily fluids, and are used by the immune system to both identify and fight off foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. When a disease or virus enters the body, your immune system produces these antibodies which can help to neutralize the infection.

Antigen

An antigen is a molecule that binds itself to an antibody, helping to stimulate the production of additional antibodies and, ultimately, fight off infection.

Chronic

An acute medical condition can mean two things: either that the illness developed slowly, or that the illness is a long-lasting and recurring condition. Chronic diseases are recurrent and therefore relapse repeatedly, with periods of remission in between each onset.

Condom

A condom is a latex barrier device used during sexual intercourse, helping to reduce the likelihood of pregnancy and spreading of sexually transmitted diseases. The latex barrier is put on a man’s erect penis and blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner.

Cure

In simple terms, a “cure” is the end of a medical condition – its resolution. In regards to STDs, this refers to the treatment that ultimately ends the medical condition. Examples of curable STD infections are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, which can be cured with prescribed medication.

Dental Dam

Dental dams are comprised of latex and are used during cunnilingus (vaginal oral sex) and analingus (anal oral sex) to protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. The dental dam is held over the vulva or anus, allowing for oral stimulation of these areas without the transmission of bodily fluids.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is the process of determining an actual infection or disease. This can be done through several different types of exams and/or medical procedures.

Equivocal

“Equivocal” means the rest is neither strongly positive nor strongly negative. Re-testing would be recommended for a determinate result.

False negative

A “false negative” result means that your STD test determined there was no sign of infection, while infection is actually present. If you think you may have returned a false negative on any test, please contact one of our on-call STD counselors at 877-206-6915 to review your test results, and discuss potential next steps.

False positive

A “false positive” result means that your STD test determined there was sing of an infection, while there is actually no infection present in the body. If you think you may have returned a false positive on any test, please contact one of our on-call STD counselors at 877-206-6915 to review your test results, discuss your symptoms, and evaluate any potential next steps.

Indeterminate

“Indeterminate” means that an STD test result is neither strongly positive nor strongly negative. In most cases, this refers to a HIV test result, which can be skewed by the presence of other infections or diseases. In the case of an indeterminate result, we recommend re-testing. If you happen to return an indeterminate result, please contact one of our on-call STD counselors at 877-206-6915.

Negative

A negative test result means that no sign of infection was found.

Non-reactive

A negative test result means that no sign of infection was found.

Reference Range

The reference range indicates what is in the positive, negative, indeterminate or equivocal ranges for any STD test results.

Positive

Signs of infection were detected during the test. In the event of a positive test result, we recommend you taking advantage of the services already included in the price of your test:

Reflex Tests

A “reflex test” is a second test that is performed to verify the results of the first test. A “reflex test” is performed on the same sample as the first test.

Screenings

“Screening” is another term for an STD test. To be “screened” for STDs and STIs means to be tested for STDs and STIs.

Seroconversion

Seroconversion is the process by which your body develops antibodies to help fight off infection. For all diseases, it takes time to develop enough antibodies to register on an STD test. This time between infection and when an STD is actually determinable on a test is referred to as a “window period”. The window period for infection differs for each STD (sexually transmitted disease) or STI (sexually transmitted infection). For example, the time required for Seroconversion (or the Window Period) for HIV is normally 1 to 3 months (although, in some cases, it can be as short as 2 weeks).

Treatment

While some STDs can actually be cured, there are others that can only be treated and never fully cured. For example, there is currently no cure for Herpes, yet there are several treatments available (such as Valtrex) which can help minimize the number of outbreaks and their severity.

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