Question

After an unsafe experience, I was examined by my doctor who said I was "Negative for all STD's." Would a physician routinely check for HTLV I & II or would I need to specifically make that request? How about HIV-2? Many thanks.

Answer

Hi. Thank you for your question. When a doctor/clinician performs a "routine STD exam," this usually means that they will check for the most common STD's, and the ones that you would most likely be exposed to. They will not usually check for every STD. Most often, when a person is checked for STD's, the doctor/clinician will often do the following:

They will usually test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and sometimes HIV.

They will usually do a visual exam for symptoms of Syphilis, Herpes and Genital/Anal warts. Remember that some STD's like Herpes and Genital Warts are most often diagnosed only when a person is showing symptoms. Just because you do not have symptoms (at the time of the exam) does not necessarily mean that you are not infected.

Doctors/clinicians will usually not test for other STD's, unless they suspect that the patient has another STD. Other STD's (besides those mentioned above) include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Trichomonas, Chancroid, HTLV-I, Molluscum Contagiosum, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Granuloma Inguinale, lice, scabies, genital yeast infections, and others. Keep in mind that some of these diseases can also be transmitted in ways other than sexual contact. Also keep in mind that some STD's (like Chancroid and Granuloma Inguinale) are very rare in North America, but can be found in other parts of the world.

Doctors will not usually test for HIV-2, since it is so rare in this part of the world. See the posting "False Negatives (ELISA) and HIV-2" for more information about HIV-2. They will also not usually test for HTLV-I/II. For more information about this STD, see the postings, "HIV test and HTLV-1," and "When should u test for HTLV"

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).