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Testing terminology

Medical terminology that you can understand

One of our goals is to provide our patients with factual information in an easy to understand manner. Listed here are some common terms used within our pages and their definitions.

  • Acute

    Illnesses that progress and subsequently go away in a short time period.

  • Antibodies

    Protein molecules made by the body in order to fight an infection.

  • Antigen

    A substance that stimulates the body to produce antibodies and combines with them

  • Chronic

    A long lasting illness that may reoccur. A chronic illness may be mild or severe.

  • Cure

    To be rid of the infection; STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics.

  • Dental dam

    A small piece of latex that is used to cover the genitals during oral sex

  • Diagnosis

    Identification of an ailment through medical exams and screenings

  • Equivocal

    A test result that does not indicate either a positive or negative result strongly; retesting is usually required following an equivocal test result

  • False negative

    When a test result shows no indication of an infection in an individual that does, in fact, have the infection; may occur when a test is run during treatment or too early.

  • False positive

    When a test result shows an indication of infection in an individual that does not have the infection.

  • Indeterminate

    Similar to equivocal; when a test result does not show strongly in either the positive or negative direction; retesting is usually required

  • Negative

    A negative test result signifies that there is no infection present.

  • Non-reactive

    Negative result

  • Phlebotomist

    A medical worker that draws blood from patients for testing

  • Positive

    A positive test result signifies the presence of an infection

  • Reference range

    The range of result numbers that is considered to be normal and used to determine whether a result is positive, negative, or if further testing is required.

  • Reflex test

    A subsequent test performed on the same sample as the first test in order to confirm results

  • Screening

    The testing process that can rule out or identify disease early in order to best treat and manage it. We recommend regular STD screening for sexually active individuals.

  • Seroconversion

    The development of blood antibodies to fight infection within your body; length of seroconversion time depends on the disease and can range anywhere from 2 weeks to six months

  • Treatment

    A method of managing a medical condition to prevent it from progressing or spreading. Some STDs can be treated but cannot be cured.

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