Receiving a screening for a sexually transmitted disease, or STD, is an important step for a sexually active person to take in order to protect themselves and their partner. In many cases, those infected with a sexually transmitted disease may not even know because they aren’t showing symptoms. If left untreated, STDs can be spread to others and may even lead to infertility.
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When to Get Tested for an STD
Getting tested for each type of STD during your annual visit is expensive and not necessary in most cases. Patients should speak with their doctor about their specific risk factors and lifestyle so that they can determine which tests are right for them.
It is recommended that you undergo an STD screening if:
You have a new sexual partner. Everyone who is sexually active should receive an STD screening at some point, and this is especially true if you are engaged in sexual relations with a new person.
You are having unprotected sex. Not wearing protection increases your risk. Because of this, it is recommended that you receive a screening If you’re having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.
You are engaging in high-risk behavior. If you or your partner have multiple partners, are an IV drug user or have had contact with a sex worker, it is strongly advised that you receive more frequent STD screenings.
You are exhibiting symptoms. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, it is always best to have it examined by your physician to determine the cause.
Symptoms to Watch Out For
It isn’t always obvious when you have an STD. Symptoms can be minor or even nonexistent in some cases. Visit the doctor if you are experiencing:
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Blisters or sores on genitals and/or anus
- Itchy or irritated genital area
- Unusual discharge
- Fever / flu-like symptoms
If results determine that you have an STD, the type of issue it is will determine how it is treated. STDs are broken down into three categories:
Chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are good examples of STDs caused by bacteria. These issues can be treated with antibiotics and should go away after the antibiotic treatment is completed.
STDs that are caused by parasites like Trichomonas Vaginalis can be cured using antibiotics, antiparasitic drugs or prescription shampoos.
STDs caused by a virus cannot be cured completely, but they can be managed. The most common types are HPV, genital herpes, hepatitis B and HIV.