What checkups should you have to protect your sexual health?

Reproductive health is a key factor affecting a person’s physical, mental and emotional state. Knowing how to protect it is crucial, so in our print edition we give you key tips for taking care of your sexual health.

Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is critical to sexual health care and the prevention of long-term complications, Dr. Vicenta Cevallos, in Clinical Pathology and Biotechnology, tells us. The tests required may vary depending on the type of STI and who is at risk, but the following is a general list of tests recommended for STI detection after clinical evaluation:

Bacterial infections associated with STIs are more common:

– Syphilis: antibodies and VDRL.

– Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Culture of genital secretions and/or detection of DNA by molecular biology (PCR).

– Chlamydia trachomatis: antigens and antibodies. DNA was detected by PCR.

– Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasma parvum, Ureaplasma urealyticum, PCR DNA testing.

Viral infections associated with STIs are more common:

– HIV antigen + antibody, HIV detection by PCR.

– Human papillomavirus: HPV high-risk HPV screening by PCR and genotyping by PCR. HPV has been linked to genital warts, cervical cancer, and other types of cancer.

– Hepatitis B and C: antigens, antibodies, DNA, RNA by molecular biology (PCR).

– Herpes types 1 and 2, antibody and DNA detection by molecular biology (PCR). HSV types 1 and 2 can cause painful sores on the genitals or mouth.

Fungi and parasites associated with STIs, most commonly:

– Candida: Culture of genital secretions.

– Trichomonas vaginalis: Fresh test and/or DNA test by molecular biology (PCR). Panel for detection of STIs in genital secretions and urine by PCR.

Also, in some cases, imaging studies can be used to assess and care for sexual health. The following are imaging tests that the treating doctor may recommend in different situations:

– Pelvic ultrasonography.

– Mammogram.

– Ultrasound examination of the testicles.

– Magnetic resonance (MR) of the pelvis.

– Hysterosalpingography.

– Doppler ultrasound.

– Pelvic computed tomography (CT).

In order to take care of sexual and reproductive health, it is important to carry out general laboratory tests recommended by the attending physician, taking into account age, reproductive history, habits, etc. These tests can help identify hormonal imbalances, fertility problems, and prevent or treat disorders related to sexual and reproductive health.

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