A healthy sex life promotes good physical and mental health. But, sometimes, sex leads to infection. About one in every five people contracts a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in any given year.
STDs include infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis. Though many STDs can easily be treated or managed, if they go unidentified, they can lead to serious complications, including long-term pain and infertility.
Many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning you carry the infection without even knowing it. That’s why it’s so important to get tested regularly; doing so helps you keep yourself and your partner (or partners) safe and healthy. At Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic in Waxahachie, Texas, certified family nurse practitioner Yaminah Matthews, APRN, FNP-C, offers discreet and thorough STD testing to give you peace of mind and a heads up if you should contract an infection.
Read on to learn the recommendations for STD testing.
Any sexually active person should be regularly tested for STDs. Everyone is at risk of developing and STD, not just people with multiple partners and those who don’t use protection.
Even if you always use a condom or you’re in a monogamous relationship, regular STD screenings should be part of your normal preventive healthcare routine for these important reasons:
If your screening reveals you have an STD, inform all your sexual partners — past and current — so they can get tested, too. Some STDs can’t be cured, but you can take steps to manage outbreaks and protect your partners.
If you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner, you only need to get tested annually. However, if you are sexually active with more than one partner and don’t use protection, schedule more frequent testing. We can recommend the best schedule for you based on your level of sexual activity and risk factors.
Couples in a committed relationship who consistently get negative results can usually safely stop regular STD testing after a few years. However, if you or your partner has been or is sexually active outside of your relationship, schedule testing.
The male and female condom are the only types of birth control that offer some protection against STDs. If you have sex infrequently and you use condoms each time, then yearly testing suffices. Whenever you don’t use protection during sex, you should be tested after each new partner.
If you’ve been sexually active in the past and never been tested for STDs, it’s time. Make it a priority before you have sex again.
Although anyone is at risk of contracting and STD, some people have an especially high risk. STDs are especially prevalent among young people. We recommend that all sexually active people under age 25 should be tested at least once a year, whether you’re male, female, straight, gay, or bisexual.
People who have multiple sex partners, regardless of their age, gender, or sexual orientation, should be tested every three to six months. This is especially true if you rarely or never use condoms.
If your current partner has an STD — regardless of their treatment regimen — you should be tested frequently.
Women who are pregnant, or planning to get pregnant soon, should test for a sexually transmitted disease. Many STDs pose a serious threat to an unborn child. Your obstetrics provider will ask you to get tested during your first trimester and to get repeated testing if you’re sexually active throughout your pregnancy, particularly if you have new or multiple partners.
If you are diagnosed with an STD, treatment is usually relatively straightforward. Most common STDs can be cured with antibiotics or other medication. Any that can’t be cured can usually be managed, so you can still lead a healthy sex life.
Schedule your comprehensive STD test today. Call Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic, or use this website to book your appointment.