Trying to Get Brother to Seek Herpes Testing

Q: My brother has a new girlfriend, and they have been sexually active for about one month. He told me that he has some sort of a blister or sore on his genitals, and he is concerned about the possibility of an STD, especially herpes. He is too embarrassed to go to his regular doctor for herpes testing. I am trying to convince him to be tested at one of your locations, but until I can do that, could you please tell me more about herpes, as well as any other STDs that might cause this kind of symptom?

L. Kinkaid

Lawton, OK

A: A lot of people are uncomfortable visiting their doctor for STD testing, especially if they’ve only been sexually active for a short amount of time. A blister or sore on the genitals is a very common symptom of herpes or possibly another STD such as syphilis. Herpes is an STD that cannot be cured; however, it can be controlled with proper medication. It is also important to note that herpes is not detrimental to one’s health in most cases, it is more of an inconvenience or nuisance. Syphilis on the other hand can be damaging to your health, but it can be cured in most cases if detected soon on.

We offer testing for both STDs, as well as others. The testing is all done in a private laboratory setting, so all he would have to do is submit a blood draw. There are no physical exams, embarrassing questionnaires, or painful procedures. Simply call our office to find a local collection site, submit the blood draw, and receive results within a few days. We also provide post testing counseling if necessary. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to arrange for testing.

Talking about STD Tests with New Partners

Q: I am a 35 year old, recently divorced woman. I have never been with anyone other than my ex-husband. I have met someone, and I would like to take our relationship to another level. However, I am worried about STDs. I know that I do not have anything because I had myself tested after my divorce. I know nothing about my new partner’s sexual history. I know I need to ask, but I do not know how to do it. How in the world do I approach my new relationship about STD tests?

S. Hiller

Albuquerque, New Mexico

A: Seeking STD testing before becoming sexually active with a new partner is the responsible thing to do. Understandably, approaching your partner about testing can be uncomfortable. Many people feel that it shows distrust, or they are just uncomfortable talking about it. The reality is that you are simply trying to protect yourself, as well as your partner.

Having already been tested yourself provides a start to the conversation. You might consider presenting your results to your partner, and ask them if they can do the same for you. Some couples prefer to get tested together. The testing process is easy and painless, so they should have no problem getting tested if they haven’t been tested already. For either, or both of you to get tested, simply call our office to find a local collection site and make arrangements. We can have you in the site as early as the same day you call, and we can have your results back in a matter of days.

If your partner hasn’t been tested already and refuses to do so, it may be a sign that you should not be taking your relationship with them to the next level. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to arrange for testing.

False Positive on a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Q: I recently took a pre-employment drug test at an About My Health facility. My potential boss told me that the test came back positive for drugs. I am very upset because I do not use drugs in any form. I would like to know more about the accuracy of your drug tests. I gave a urine sample for my test. How accurate are the results? What is the likelihood of a false positive? Can I be retested immediately? Is there another test that will give better, more reliable results? I realize that mistakes can happen, even in a lab setting, so I just want to get this resolved as soon as possible.

J. Kolper

San Diego, CA

A: All of our tests follow a chain of custody protocol, and they are all laboratory-based. That being said, the chances of receiving a false positive are extremely low. Non-negative results are also processed through a multi-step confirmation process.

If you would like to be retested there are various options. Positive specimens are kept at the lab for 13 months after the collection date, which means we can test the exact same urine that you submitted originally. You might also discuss the option of a hair follicle test with your employer. While hair testing costs more than urine testing, it can provide up 90 days worth of detection. Keep in mind that you may be expected to pay for your retest on your own. Please let us know if there’s any further way we can help.

Do I Need a Chlamydia Test When Partner was Treated?

Q: I am a 43-year old man, and I have recently started a new relationship. My partner informed me that she was diagnosed with Chlamydia about two weeks before our first sexual encounter. She says that her doctor gave her medication to take care of the STD, so I shouldn’t be worried. However, I am worried. Two weeks is such a small time frame to be diagnosed with an STD and complete treatment. Should I seek a chlamydia test just to make sure she didn’t pass the STD to me, even though she had already been treated?

R. Sampson

Austin, TX

A: More than likely everything is fine, but you might consider testing just to be safe. Generally speaking Chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics, and two weeks is enough time for the treatment to run its course. However, it is also recommended that after receiving treatment you should seek a test-of-cure to make sure that the treatment worked.

Did your partner do this? If not, it is a good idea to get tested. If she did test again and received negative results you do not need to screen. We offer fast and private testing at local collection sites if you do need to test. Simply call our office to make arrangements and we can have you in a collection site as early as the same day you call.

Learning about the Accuracy of the HIV PCR Test

Q: I am afraid that I have been exposed to HIV in the past 6 weeks. I had unprotected sex with someone that may have the virus. Although I do not know for sure if he has HIV, I would rather not depend on his word alone. I have been trying to find a test that will provide me with early detection and accurate results. My research has led me to your company and the HIV PCR test. Can you tell me more about the accuracy of HIV PCR test that you offer? I need results that I can rely on so I can put my mind at ease.

S. Gilmore

Miami, FL

A: The HIV DNA PCR is a great option in your case. While it can cost more than traditional antibody testing, the test is considered conclusive for anything more than 28 days ago. As opposed to detecting your body’s response to the virus, which can take 6-12 weeks to provide reliable results, the PCR looks directly for the pro-viral DNA of the virus. The DNA is rapidly replicated after infection and can be detected very early on with the PCR.

If you are concerned about a exposure to HIV, the best thing you can do is seek testing. We offer testing across the country, and appointments can be made as early as the day you call. Simply register over the phone, provide the blood sample, and then receive results a few days later. All of our testing is private and confidential. Please call our office to speak with a test expert if you have any questions or would like to arrange for testing.

Do I Need Another Herpes Test?

Q: I had a herpes test done about three months ago when I started dating my new girlfriend. The results came back negative. I have been faithful to her, and I am certain she has been faithful to me. However, I noticed some sort of blister in my genital area. Before I go back to my doctor and get tested again, I’d like to ask a few questions. Could this be herpes? If so, how come the test I took a few months ago did not give me a positive result? Is it possible to carry the herpes virus and not know it for several months?

J. Godfrey

Phoenix, Arizona

A: While it is a great sign that your test came back negative, there is still a possibility that you could have herpes. The important thing to realize about blood tests is that they have a window period. The window period is how long after an exposure you need to wait before getting a reliable test result. With traditional herpes tests, the window period is usually 6-12 weeks.

That said, if you were to take a test one or two weeks after your exposure the test would probably come back negative because you tested too early. If this is a possibility in your case, a follow up test is definitely a good idea. If you do not want to visit your personal doctor again for the test, we can provide the exact same screen at a reasonable cost and everything is completely private and confidential.

Could I be Infertile from Chlamydia?

Q: My boyfriend and I were both diagnosed with chlamydia. Neither one of us exhibited any symptoms of chlamydia. We only found out because we both had our annual screening for STDs. I am a little concerned that I may have had this STD for quite some time. Is there any chance that the chlamydia could have caused some irreversible damage? I have heard horror stories about infertility, and while I don’t want children right now, I would like to have kids in the future. How can I find out if this STD caused me some serious harm?

N. Nielsen

Washington, D.C.
A: Your situation is not uncommon – a lot of people, including men and women, do not show symptoms of Chlamydia when they are infected. It is definitely good that you both were diagnosed so that you can receive treatment. In most cases Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics, but there are cases when it can cause irreversible damage to the reproductive system. This usually is a result of having the infection for quite some time without treatment. If you are concerned you should speak with your OBGYN and request an exam to determine the severity of your infection.

I Need to Have STD Testing Performed Again!

Q: I recently went to the health department for STD testing. According to their results, I am free of STDs. However, I am worried that the results were not accurate. I am still experiencing various symptoms that simply are not normal. I would like to be tested again, but I would prefer not to use my personal physician. I have had multiple partners over the last two years, and that is not something I want to share with my doctor. Can you tell me how quickly About My Health will have my results back to me, as well as how reliable the results will be? I just want some reliable answers that I can depend on.

K. Lyon

Chicago, Illinois

A: It’s definitely a good sign that you’ve been tested and the results were negative; however, it is important to realize that STDs do not always show up on tests right away. Chlamydia and gonorrhea typically will take about a week to show up in urine tests, and other common STDs (HIV, herpes, hepatitis B, and syphilis) will take about 6-12 weeks to show up.

A lot of people prefer to not use their personal physician for STD testing, and we offer a great alternative that is still private and confidential. All of our tests are performed through a professional laboratory and results are returned within 1-3 business days usually. To get tested simply call our office to speak with a test expert. We can help you decide which tests to do and have you in a collection site as early as the same day you call.

Arrange for a Hair Follicle Drug Test with About My Health

Q: I have a strong suspicion that my teenage daughter has been experimenting with drugs. I do not think she is abusing drugs every day, but I do know that there was a party a couple of months ago where drugs were offered. I would like to have her come to one of your lab locations for a hair follicle drug test. I know that there are other options, such as a urine drug screening. However, from everything I have read, the hair test is much more reliable as far as long-term detection. How do I go about arranging for drug screening?

W. Theodore

Miami, FL

A: If you are concerned about drug use a few months back, a hair follicle test is really your only option. However, it is important to note that hair follicle testing is designed to detect patterns of regular use. It is not ideal for detecting one or two time use in the past couple months. Another thing to consider is the type of drug you are concerned with. Different test panels will screen for different types of drugs. If you have specific concerns our test experts can discuss them with you and help decide which test best suits your needs. Call our office to speak with an expert, find a local collection site, and arrange for testing.

Why Would a Hair Follicle Test Have Inconclusive Results?

Q: My husband was recently hurt on the job (he works in construction). His boss had him submit to a hair follicle test the same day that he was injured. The test results came back inconclusive, so now my husband must submit to another test. Can you tell me why a hair follicle test would have inconclusive results? It was my understanding that these types of tests were much more reliable than standard urine drug tests. Is there a chance that the next test will have the same results? My husband finds the testing process a bit uncomfortable, so the sooner we get this resolved, the better.

G. Hardrow

Minneapolis, MN

A: It is a little misleading to say that a hair follicle test is more reliable than a urine drug test. In reality, each test is reliable for different situations. Urine testing is more reliable for detecting recent drug use, and hair testing is more reliable for detecting a history of past use. More than likely your husband’s hair test was rejected due to an insufficient quantity of hair. If his head hair was not long enough (most places require 1 ½ inches) they might consider a body hair collection for the follow up. If his hair is definitely long enough, it was probably due to the collector not taking enough hair for the test. Generally speaking, the lab requires 90-120 strands for a successful analysis.

Generally the collectors try to make the process as comfortable as possible. If the employer has requested a hair follicle test, it is unlikely that your husband will be able to do any other kind of testing. Just make sure he acknowledges that it is his second time getting the collection done, that way the collector can make a point to take enough hair for analysis. If you have any questions please feel free to contact one of our test experts.