STIs / STDs Explained
Where Can You Get an STI / STD Test in Chiang Mai?
STI / STD testing is available at CM Mediclinic and several other medical facilities in Chiang Mai, Thailand. CM Mediclinic provides comprehensive, accurate, affordable and up-to-date international standard methods of testing for STI’s / STD’s with our Safer2Know sexual health service. Please be aware that there are some less accurate and cheaper methods of sexual health testing available in Chiang Mai which we DO NOT provide or recommend. Often these inferior testing methods can lead to false negative results.
What is the difference between an STI and an STD?
An STI which stands for sexually transmitted infection is a little different from an STD which is a sexually transmitted disease. It is the infection (STI) that leads to the disease (STD). They are commonly known to mean the same thing but many STIs show no symptoms, so you may not know if you are infected and will not progress into a disease. That is why it is important to regularly screen for STIs or STDs, whatever you may wish to call them.
What are the benefits of STI / STD Testing at CM Mediclinic?
- Testing is affordable, up-to-date and accurate.
- Our Medical Practitioner has over 15 years’ experience.
- Our care is confidential & discreet in a relaxed friendly environment.
- One of the leading sexual health clinics in Thailand and one of the first to provide PCR DNA testing & HIV rapid testing.
- You can get same-day, walk-in care.
- You can book an appointment online and save even more time.
- Effective treatment provided with easy access to a wide range of our other first class healthcare services.
- There should be no stigma to STI /STD testing, in case you're concerned, don't be, because we are a general practice others won't know why you're visiting.
Why Is Sexual Health So Important?
Everyone who is sexually active should have a concern about their sexual health. If left unchecked, STIs / STDs can damage both male and female reproductive systems. It is reported in the USA that nearly 25,000 women a year become infertile because of STIs / STDs. Generally, contracting an STD will not cause infertility or reproductive problems. But when a sexually transmitted disease is not treated it leads to a high risk of reproductive damage. Therefore, it is so important to get tested regularly. The importance of your sexual health must be a priority as sexually transmitted infections & diseases are on the rise in many countries worldwide. In UK for example, England alone in 2018 had 447,694 new diagnoses of STIs / STDs, a 5% increase since 2017 when 422,147 new STI /STD diagnoses were made. Of these, the most commonly diagnosed were:
• Chlamydia (49% of all new STI / STD diagnoses)
• Gonorrhoea (13%)
• First episode genital warts (13%)
• First episode genital herpes (8%)
The increase in the total number of new STIs, STDs compared to 2017 was due to a large increase in Gonorrhoea (26%; from 44,812 to 56,259), and more moderate increases in diagnoses of:
• Chlamydia (6%; from 205,365 to 218,095)
• Syphilis (5%; from 7,149 to 7,541)
• First episode genital herpes (3%; from 32,828 to 33,867)
The figures in the US are even more staggering and unfortunately, we do not have accurate up-to-date statistics for Thailand.
What Are the Most Common STIs / STDs?
There are many different STIs / STDs, some are more common than others. They all fall into one of two groups, viral or bacterial. Listed below are some of the most common STIs / STDs, their symptoms, and treatments.
Chlamydia is a bacterial STI / STD and is the number one cause of infertility in the United States. If chlamydia is left untreated it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can permanently damage a woman’s reproductive system. Many people who have chlamydia do not have symptoms, which makes it difficult to diagnose without an accurate test. This why regular testing is so important. People who do have symptoms of chlamydia, may experience:
• Painful urination
• Discharge from the vagina or penis
• A fever
The correct type of antibiotics can treat chlamydia (which you can get at CM Mediclinic). If you do require treatment for chlamydia your partner will too. Otherwise you may contract it again.
Gonorrhea which is also spelt gonorrhoea is another STD that is bacterial which often occurs at the same time as chlamydia. Generally, if you’re treated for one, you’ll also be treated for the other. Gonorrhea can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease, so early treatment is important. Like chlamydia, most people won’t have symptoms although but if they do, they may experience:
• Discharge from the vagina or penis
• Difficult or painful urination
• Mouth, throat, and eye infections
• Women sometimes experience bleeding between periods
• Men sometimes experience swollen testicles
Gonorrhea can cause infertility in both women and men. A single dose of the correct antibiotics will treat gonorrhea.
Another common STI / STD is Herpes that many people do not know they have as it can often present no symptoms at all. The only visible symptom are blisters around the genitals. It can be caused by two different strains of the herpes simplex virus: HSV type 1 (HSV-1) or HSV type 2 (HSV-2). The majority of genital herpes cases are caused by HSV-2 and to date there is no cure. CM Mediclinic can provide medicine treatment to control the herpes outbreaks which can decrease the chances of passing it on to a sexual partner.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the most prevalent STI / STD in fact 50% of sexually active people will catch HPV at some point in their life. Because there are over 40 types of HPV, it is difficult to diagnose a particular strain. The variety of strains of HPV can cause:
• Genital warts
• Mouth and throat infections
• Cancers of the cervix, vulva, anus, penis, and mouth
The Human Papillomavirus cannot be cured but can be treated. In addition to our HPV testing, it’s important to know that there is a vaccine that can help prevent HPV, including cancers and genital warts caused by HPV. You can get the HPV vaccine, as well as many other vaccinations at our clinic in Chiang Mai.
Another STI / STD that can cause serious long-term health issues is Syphilis. It’s normally contracted transmitted through contact with open sores during sex. The numbers of cases worldwide have been increasing over the past years, making it a major concern. Syphilis symptoms may include:
• Small, painless sores in or around the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth
• A rash, especially on palms of hands and soles of feet
• Swollen lymph glands
• Sore throat
• Muscle aches
• Weight loss
If diagnosed early Syphilis may be treated with the correct type antibiotics.
Aka BV, is a particularly common vaginal infection in women. It occurs when there is an imbalance of good & bad bacteria in the body. Women who have new or multiple sexual partners, and those that douche are more likely to have BV. Basically new bacteria that enters the vagina can cause BV. Signs of Bacterial Vaginosis are:
• Vaginal itching or burning
• Discharge which is thin & milky with a fishy odor
• Painful urination
The correct antibiotics will clear Bacterial Vaginosis. Treatment is exceedingly important as it can increase risk of contracting other STIs / STDs, and can cause birth defects such as preterm labor, premature birth, and lower birth weight babies.
Trichomoniasis affects mainly women. Although men may contract trichomoniasis, many will not experience any symptoms. Symptoms of trichomoniasis are:
• Painful urination
• Penis lesions
• Green or yellow frothy vaginal discharge
• Labia & vulva swelling
Trichomoniasis can be treated with the correct antibiotics. Reinfection is very common, so it is extremely important that everyone gets treated who has had sex with an infected person.
Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B)
Hepatitis A, B, and C are viruses that can be caught through sexual contact, but Hepatitis B is the most common. It is also the most common cause of liver cancer. Like other several other STIs / STDs, viral hepatitis often does not show symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can be very serious. Symptoms include:
• Liver enlargement
• Cloudy or dark urine
• Joint pain
• Loss of appetite
Hepatitis B can be prevented by a vaccination available at CM Mediclinic. But can if Hep B is contracted, in the majority of cases antiviral medications can treat it.
It is so important to remember that pregnant women who contract an STI/ STD can pass it on to their child. If you’re pregnant and believe you may have an STI / STD, you should contact us as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
When Can I Go to CM Mediclinic for STI /STD Testing?
If you would like to get an STI / STD test as a precaution or believe you may have an STI /STD, then please contact as soon as possible. The earlier we test, then the earlier we can treat. Many people choose to visit CM Mediclinic because of our 15 year experience in sexual health services and the affordable & accurate up-to-date testing that we provide. Also, because we are not just an STI / STD clinic, we're a general medical clinic with sexual health being just one of our specialities, you needn’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when visiting our medical clinic, as you might, when going to a facility that only provides STI / STD testing in Chiang Mai. For our confidential & discreet sexual health testing services you can either walk in for the next available appointment or if you cannot wait, you can schedule an appointment on our website or on our facebook page. Alternatively you can email or call us. Our opening times are Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm.
As part of our well known Safer2Know sexual health service, our experienced doctor will give you a physical exam and evaluate if you have any visible symptoms. To get a confirmed diagnosis, you’ll be asked to give a blood or urine sample which will be sent to our lab for testing. You will usually have the results within a few days and then be given a prescription for antibiotics to treat a bacterial STD or an antiviral medication to treat a viral STD. But please note unless you have confirmed symptoms, we will not just prescribe antibiotics without laboratory testing. Overprescribing of antibiotics can contribute to drug resistance in many sexually transmitted diseases.
Is STI / STD Testing Covered by Insurance in Thailand?
Depending on the type of insurance you have, STD testing may be fully or partially covered. The only way to know for sure is to contact your health insurance company and ask if you’re covered. If your insurance does cover STD testing CM Mediclinic will provide you with a full itemized receipt for you to claim back with your insurance company.
Talking about sexually transmitted diseases is not a lighthearted conversation and discussing it with your sexual partner can be awkward but if you’re having sex together, you should both take responsibility in keeping yourselves sexually healthy. Otherwise there can be major health risks. If you need to get an STI / STD test, contact CM Mediclinic in Chiang Mai to book an appointment. It’s easy, get TESTED!!!
For HIV TESTING please see the information on our Fast HIV testing service and details on HIV PEP, HIV PrEP & HIV treatment at CM Mediclinic.