Every year, about 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diagnosed in the United States. That should be reason enough for you to schedule an STD test if you’re sexually active.
STD testing isn’t usually included as part of a regular men’s health, women’s health, or general physical. But that doesn’t mean it’s not essential to get tested. STD testing should be a priority if you have multiple sexual partners or if your partner is (or maybe) having sex with others.
Even if you’ve never had vaginal penetration, you can still contract an STD. Oral and anal sex can spread STDs. Skin-to-skin contact can also spread HPV (human papillomavirus), herpes, and syphilis.
Here are five essential reasons to make STD testing a priority, according to the team at St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas.
1. Early detection
Many sexually transmitted diseases may not present immediate symptoms or have mild symptoms that go unnoticed. You can detect STDs early, even before symptoms appear, by getting tested regularly. Early detection allows for timely treatment, reducing the risk of complications and preventing the spread of the infection to others.
2. Peace of mind
Sexual activity, especially with new or multiple partners, can sometimes create anxiety or uncertainty about your health. Getting tested regularly can provide peace of mind, alleviating concerns about potential infections and ensuring that you take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your partners.
Monogamy is not a guarantee that your partner is STD-free. They may pass on an asymptomatic STD from another partner. STD testing can ease any fears of STDs passed on from past relationships.
3. Protecting yourself and your partners
Many STDs can be transmitted with no symptoms. You can identify and treat any infections by getting tested, reducing the risk of transmitting them to your sexual partners. Regular testing is an essential part of responsible sexual behavior and helps to maintain a healthy sexual community. That is especially true if you have sexual relations with multiple partners.
4. Preventing complications
Some untreated STDs can lead to severe health complications. For example, untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID causes persistent pelvic pain and scarring in the Fallopian tubes, leading to infertility or ectopic pregnancy.
Regular testing helps identify and treat STD infections promptly, reducing the risk of complications.
5. Empowering yourself with knowledge
Knowledge is power when it comes to sexual health. By getting tested regularly, you become more informed about your health status. That knowledge enables you to make informed decisions about your sexual activities, practice safer sex, and seek appropriate medical care when needed.
STD testing is a responsible choice for anyone sexually active. Anyone can contract an STD, so you should prioritize regular STD testing. How often you should get tested depends on the STD you’re testing for, your sexual history, and your overall health.
To find out more about STD testing, contact St. Michael’s Elite Hospital to schedule an appointment.