If you’re sexually active, you’re putting yourself at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There are many types of STDs, and many of them don’t show symptoms. So it’s possible to have an infection and not know it. Fortunately, getting an STD screening is easier and faster than ever. At Downtown Medical Group, we can order tests, and, if needed, quickly and discreetly provide treatment for any STD you may have contracted.
Who should get tested for STDs?
You should get tested for STDs at least once after becoming sexually active, especially if you didn’t or don’t currently use physical protection, such as a condom. Some reasons that warrant an STD screening include:
- You recently had intercourse with a new partner
- You recently had unprotected sex
- You have intercourse with multiple partners (at the same time or separately)
- You’ve had an STD in the past
- You have HIV
- Your usual or permanent partner has been with another person
On the flip side, some reasons that you may not need STD testing include:
- You’ve been with the same partner for many years; neither of you have an STD; and neither of you has had other partners.
- You’re not sexually active
Remember that most STDs don’t have symptoms, and with diseases that do have symptoms, the symptoms usually take a while to set in. So if you’re at all suspicious that you might have an STD, don’t wait for symptoms to get tested.
Which STD tests should I get?
The exact STDs you should get screened for will depend on your situation and risk factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following guidelines apply:
All sexually active people ages 13-64 should get tested for HIV.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
All sexually active women younger than age 25 should get tested. Furthermore, all sexually active women age 25 and older who are at risk ― such as women who are starting a new relationship ― should get tested. Also, all sexually active gay and bisexual men should get tested.
Syphilis and Hepatitis B
All pregnant women and sexually active gay and bisexual men should get tested.
These are the tests most often provided in a standard round of STD testing. If you’re curious about other STDs, ask your doctor.
How do I know if I have an STD?
Unfortunately, you probably won’t know if you have an STD unless you get screened. Some STDs — such as genital herpes — show symptoms, but most don’t. If you’re concerned that you might have an STD, schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about your situation and risk factors. And if you do show any symptoms, such as genital warts, itching, burning, or unusual discharge, get tested as soon as possible.
Treatment for STDs
Your treatment plan will depend on which STD you have. Treatment for STDs often involves antibiotics, as many STDs are bacterial in nature. In some cases, a single dose of antibiotics can kill the bacteria causing your infection.
If your STD is viral in nature, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. Keep in mind that antivirals don’t kill or eliminate viruses, but they can suppress them and make them more manageable. If you do have a viral STD, you can still pass it along to your partner even if you’re on an antiviral.
The more honest you are about your condition, the better you’ll be in the long-run. Doctors know most people don’t want to talk about their sex lives, but there’s nothing wrong with taking care of your sexual health. In fact, doing so is smart and necessary.
If you think you might have an STD, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Downtown Medical Group right away. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.