Who Should be Tested for STDs and How Often?
About 50% of sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by the time theyâ€™re 25 years old. STIs are often the first stage of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but these two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.
STDs are diseases that are transmitted through sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD, regardless of gender, age, or sexual orientation. There are many different STDs, but some of the most common are chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and syphilis.
Many of the most common STDs donâ€™t have obvious symptoms, but they can still compromise your health and be spread to other people. The only way to identify STDs and treat them to protect your health is through STD testing.
Why itâ€™s important to get tested for STDs
If youâ€™re sexually active, itâ€™s possible to get an STD. Theyâ€™re spread through unprotected sexual contact, and anyone at any age can get one. Younger people and people who have multiple sexual partners are at the highest risk for contracting an STD.
Getting regular testing is often the only way to detect the presence of STDs, because they rarely show symptoms. Even if you donâ€™t have symptoms, an STD can harm your health. If left untreated, STDs can spread to other people and may lead to:
- Organ damage
Most of the time, STDs donâ€™t have noticeable symptoms, but symptoms do appear in some cases. You might have an STD if you notice:
- Sores or bumps in the genital area
- Abnormal discharge
- Burning sensation with urination
- Itching, irritation, or pain in the genital area
- Flu-like symptoms
These can indicate the presence of an STD, but they might be symptoms of a different health condition. Yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and other common issues can cause similar symptoms.
If you notice symptoms of an STD, itâ€™s important to get tested right away. Even if you donâ€™t have noticeable symptoms, you should be getting regular STD tests depending on your gender, age, and sexual habits.
When to get tested for STDs
There are guidelines for STD testing that change with your gender, age, and sexual history. In general, you should get tested for STDs before beginning a new relationship, if you have multiple partners or your partner has multiple partners, or if you have symptoms of an STD.
Certain lifestyle factors affect how often you should be tested for STDs. Pregnant women should get tested for STDs early in pregnancy, and all sexually active women under 25 years old should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia annually.
Gay and bisexual men should get regular STD testing for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea yearly. The CDC also recommends frequent HIV testing.
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once. HIV, which is the human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that leads to AIDS.
Getting tested for STDs is the only way to get the right diagnosis and treatment plan, whether you have symptoms or not. Take charge of your health with STD testing.Â Contact usÂ by phone or online to set up an appointment today.