STDs are a lot more common than you think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 alone, about 1.7 million people were diagnosed with chlamydia, more than a half million were diagnosed with gonorrhea, and just over 100,000 people were diagnosed with syphilis. In addition, nearly 39,000 people received a diagnosis of HIV in 2017. Many people mistakenly believe you can only contract an STD by taking part in “risky” sexual behaviors or by sharing needles, but that’s just not the case. You can contract an STD from any partner who’s had sex with another infected person — even if you’re currently in a monogamous relationship with that person. That means if you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to get tested to make sure you’re not carrying any STDs yourself.
The importance of being screened
While most STDs are completely treatable, the key to a “cure” is to be diagnosed as early as possible so you can begin receiving treatment before the infection has a chance to cause more serious side effects. If you’re sexually active, having routine screenings is a simple and extremely effective way to maintain good health. But beyond that, being screened for STDs helps protect your partner as well. Some STDs can cause few symptoms in their early stages, which means you might have an infection and not even know it. Being screened means you can get the treatment you need so you can stay healthy and so you can prevent spreading the infection to someone else. If you’re pregnant, being screened for STDs can help prevent spreading that infection on to your baby, either in the uterus or at birth.
Still not convinced? The CDC offers some helpful guidelines regarding who should be tested and how often those screenings should occur:
- HIV testing should occur at least once for anyone between the ages of 13 and 64.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings should be performed at least once each year for sexually active women under 25 years of age, and for older women who have new or multiple partners or other risk factors (including a partner who’s been diagnosed with an STD).
- Pregnant women should be screened for syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV; at-risk women should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, with repeat testing throughout pregnancy as needed to protect both the mother and the infant.
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men should be screened at least annually for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea; men who have multiple partners or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently, and frequent HIV testing should also be considered.
- Anyone who has unsafe or unprotected sex or who shares drug needles should be tested for HIV at least once every year.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center, we offer comprehensive testing for STDs using state-of-the-art testing technology, so you can feel confident in your results. As with any appointment, scheduling a visit for STD testing is a completely confidential and private process. When talking to your doctor, be open about your sexual history. All your answers are completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no judgment here. Our primary focus is to keep you healthy and understanding your sexual history and risk factors can help us make the best recommendations for screening and lifestyle changes that can help you prevent disease and infection.
Find out more about STD screening
At Ross Bridge Medical Center, STD screening is fast and discreet. Getting screened is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health and the health of your partners. And since the screening process is so quick, it’s easy to fit your STD test into your schedule, no matter how busy you may be. To learn more about the STD screening options offered at Ross Bridge Medical Center or to schedule an office visit, book an appointment online today.