One of the testing methods used here at Priority STD is the blood test. Blood or urine tests are quite common for a variety of different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and are more often preferred over the dreaded swab test. Swab tests can make many individuals feel fairly uncomfortable and even prevent some people from ever getting tested. For this reason, the accuracy of blood and urine tests have been improved. But how accurate are these tests?
Priority STD ensures its patients undergo tests used to diagnose at the clinical level. This provides a high level of accuracy that provides the in-depth knowledge to take care of your sexual health. However, there are factors you can control which can help guarantee this accuracy.
Priority STD Accuracy
When entrusting a healthcare provider or diagnostic laboratory, you want to get the most accurate results possible. For this reason, our laboratories are run within stringent FDA-specified regulations and certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. Both of these certifications work towards ensuring the most accurate results as possible for all testings, including blood tests. Priority STD also makes sure to choose the appropriate testing method (blood versus urine) for each disease.
What is FDA Approval?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a nationally-recognized government organization that regulates and ensures products, events and regulations are held to high public safety and health standards. The FDA also assists in making sure that the public is supplied with trustworthy and accurate testings that are based on scientific research.
What is CLIA Certification?
The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) are enforced by a trio of government agencies, including the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS). These organizations work together to complete tasks such as laboratory performance monitoring, establishing regulation guidelines and providing labs with the proper research and standards for quality assurance.
While these blood tests are accurate, there are a couple of external factors that can affect this accuracy. However, you as the patient can help control these external factors.
One of the biggest factors controllable by you is user error. For example, some at-home test kits offer blood tests. This would entail you drawing your own blood and shipping the sample to a STD testing lab. While the lab may have the proper equipment and training, the reliability of the sample also depends on if the blood was drawn properly and the timing for blood return to the lab was correct. For this reason, at-home blood tests may prove to be less accurate than visiting a healthcare physician. However, this user error can be avoided by following the instructions on the STD testing kit.
Another factor that can affect the reliability of tests would be the latency periods of all STDs. A latency period is a timeframe between transmission and onset when the individual will typically not experience symptoms but still be infected. During this time, the disease has not remained in the body long enough to create the antigens which lab technicians search for when providing results.
For instance, our labs search for the presence of specific antigens in the body when testing for HIV. If the body has not had enough time to react to the disease, it is difficult to provide a reliable result. For chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, we recommend waiting about 6 days after supposed transmission. However, other tests such as HIV, herpes and syphilis may benefit from a waiting period between 10 days and 2 months. Due to this, it is important to stay informed on the latency periods for the STD for which you want to be tested. However, if you begin to experience symptoms of a STD, it is best to get tested as soon as possible.
In general, blood tests are an accurate method of STD testing. As long as the tests are performed by a certified medical professional, there should not be a cause for worry. The accuracy of your tests not only rely on the laboratory but also your informed decision-making. If you are performing at-home testing, make sure to follow the instructions to ensure that user error will not prevent reliable testing. Also, it is wise to remain aware of the latency periods for the STD infection for which you want to be tested.