STD Testing: When Should I Get Tested?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are surprisingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 20 million new STDs in the United States each year. Of these, about 9 million cases occur in women. About half of these infections occur in people ages 15-24.

You may be wondering when you should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, which are also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including your sexual choices, your age, and your health history.

Here at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, our caring providers would like you to understand some of the considerations that we take into account when recommending STD testing for our patients. Read on to learn more about this important topic.

About sexually transmitted diseases

STDs are infections that are transmitted from person to person through sexual contact, including vaginal sex, oral sex, and anal sex. Some STDs can spread by touching an infected person’s genitals.

STDs can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Unfortunately, STDs can spread even when an infected person appears healthy and shows no visible symptoms. In some cases, a pregnant or breastfeeding mother can pass an STD to her baby. Common STDs include:

When should you be tested?

Here are some of the considerations we take into account when deciding whether to recommend an STD test:

Age

All sexually active women under age 25 should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea each year. The simplest time to do this is during your yearly GYN exam.

Pregnancy

To help safeguard your baby’s health, we recommend STD testing before you conceive or during your first pregnancy checkup.  

Symptoms

We usually recommend testing if you have STD symptoms such as:

But some STDs cause no symptoms.

Sexual and lifestyle choices

More frequent STD testing may make sense if you have multiple sex partners, if your sex partner has sex with multiple people, or if you engage in unsafe sex.

You may also benefit from frequent testing if you use intravenous drugs or have sex with an IV drug user. Be sure to have an STD test if your partner tests positive for any STD or if your male partner has sex with another man.

Treating STDs

We can treat many STDs. Those that can’t be cured can often be successfully managed with various types of medications. 

It’s crucial to have STDs diagnosed and treated, because ignoring them can lead to potentially serious complications, including infertility, some types of cancer, chronic pain, serious pregnancy complications, health problems for your baby, and even death.

Schedule your STD testing

If you’re not sure whether to get tested for STDs, let us help. Our compassionate, nonjudgmental providers make your sexual health a priority. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

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