Which sexually transmitted diseases should I be tested for?

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Which tests for sexually transmitted diseases are useful – and which are not? There is a wide range on offer: tests for HIV, syphilis, herpes, HPV, ureaplasma, gonorrhea, chlamydia, mycoplasma and more are available on the Internet. You are spoiled for choice. But which test for sexually transmitted infections is really useful and what should you stay away from?

Symptoms and asymptomatic testing


If your urethra burns or hurts, if you have a fever or a skin rash, if you notice changes to your genitals or if you have other symptoms, you should consult a doctor. Submission tests are not suitable for these cases and no time should be wasted. So off to the doctor you trust.


Many people want to be tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases. And that also makes sense, because some of them often have no or hardly any symptoms. These are the diseases we are talking about here. s.a.m health offers tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. We will now explain why we offer these and not others.

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We recommend tests for the following sexually transmitted diseases or STIs:

We recommend tests for the following sexually transmitted diseases or STIs:


Acute HIV infection manifests itself like a flu-like infection and is often misjudged as such. The infection is then usually asymptomatic. HIV damages the immune system over years – until the most serious illnesses occur. Regular HIV testing is therefore advisable for people who are at risk during sex.

Because the earlier the infection is treated, the better. With timely treatment, the patient then has a normal life expectancy and is no longer sexually infectious thanks to the medication. One test per year is sufficient to ensure that the infection is not detected too late.


After a few days, an ulcer develops at the site of infection. If the ulcer is located in the vagina, rectum or mouth, it is often not recognized. The rash that appears after a few weeks disappears by itself.

Then there are long asymptomatic phases of syphilis, during which the bacterium can cause severe organ damage. Regular tests are therefore advisable for people who are at risk. Whether you take the tests every three, six or 12 months also depends on the number of partners and the risk.

Gonorrhea and chlamydia

These are the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases. They cause inflammation at the site of mucosal colonization: in the urethra, vagina/cervix, rectum or throat. The infection may or may not be symptomatic.

These are the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases. They cause inflammation at the site of mucosal colonization: in the urethra, vagina/cervix, rectum or throat.

The bacteria can colonize the mucous membranes for weeks or months and eventually ascend into the fallopian tubes or the abdominal cavity in women and into the epididymis or prostate in men. They can cause more serious illnesses there and may then be the cause of infertility. Young women up to the age of 25 are therefore entitled to be tested for chlamydia once a year. However, this “chlamydia screening” does not work well in practice. Gynecological practices often do not offer screening.


It therefore makes sense for sexually active people to be tested for both pathogens: by means of a urine sample and an anal swab.

Throat swab for chlamydia and gonorrhea?

Whether a throat swab is necessary is controversial. In the throat, the bacteria disappear by themselves after a few weeks and do not cause any damage. Maybe your throat is scratchy. Only extremely rarely does a clear inflammation of the throat occur. If the smear test is positive, an antibiotic is prescribed.

So you have the side effects of the medication, but hardly any benefit yourself (as the bacteria there are usually harmless). But of course the antibiotic prevents you from infecting sexual partners during oral sex – and they then have the pathogens in their urethra. For this reason, most s.a.m health clients also take the throat test.

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📲 Knowing your STI status is sexy

A regular STI test for these pathogens is not necessary:

Mycoplasma and ureaplasma

These pathogens are common and rarely cause symptoms. If symptoms occur, treatment is necessary. That is obvious. But this happens so rarely that international professional associations advise against testing symptom-free people. This is because they would often have a positive result and would then treat it.

But unlike with chlamydia and gonorrhea, you often have to resort to an antibiotic that can cause serious and even life-threatening side effects – because the mycoplasmas are often already resistant to the well-tolerated antibiotic. You would be shooting sparrows with cannons and causing more harm than good. In the interests of our clients’ health, we therefore do not offer the test.


There are over 200 subtypes of human papillomaviruses. They are usually not noticeable and disappear by themselves after a few months. Some subtypes cause genital warts (which are then visible), others cause cervical cancer, anal cancer or penile cancer. This is why the HPV vaccination has been recommended for adolescents for several years. Screening for cervical cancer has been around for a long time.

This examination has been changed since 2020: For women up to the age of 35, there is still the annual PAP smear (examination for cell changes), for women aged 35 and over, an HPV smear of the cervix is offered. If the results are negative, women will then only have to be examined every three years. But why don’t younger people also get the HPV test? It is assumed that younger people have more sex and HPV would then be detected too frequently.

HPV cannot be prevented during sex. Condoms only have a relatively low protective effect. Because HPV is too frequently detectable in sexually active people (and does not usually lead to cancer or genital warts), sam health does not offer HPV smear tests. You would have a positive result too often. In addition, there is no guarantee that the self-swab at home is nearly as good as the swab in the practice (this is the case with chlamydia and gonorrhea). Women should have a check-up at the gynecologist’s office.

If you have many partners, you should consider getting vaccinated against HPV. Some health insurance companies also voluntarily cover the costs for adults. Otherwise, the three required vaccine doses cost around 160 euros each. It is then important to ensure that you receive the 9-fold vaccine. This is because the double vaccine does not protect against genital warts. The vaccination is well tolerated and provides around 95% protection against genital warts and the corresponding cancers


The first infection with one of the two types of herpes usually causes the well-known painful herpes blisters. Everyone knows them from the cold sores of their youth. The viruses then lie dormant in the nerve ganglia for life. Some people also become sexually infected with herpes. The mucous membranes of the genital organs are then affected. Both cold sores and genital herpes can flare up again later in some people. You will normally notice this and should seek medical treatment if you have severe symptoms.

Rarely can herpes be detected without such symptoms. But this is an incidental finding that does not need to be treated. We therefore do not offer the test, as it would only make the package unnecessarily expensive.

This article was written by:

Armin Schafberger – doctor and health scientist, as well as former medical officer of the German AIDS service organization.

Sexuelle Gesundheit. Dein Weg.

Unser diskretes Versandtestkit bietet Labortests auf HIV, Syphilis, Tripper (Gonorrhö) und Chlamydien.