Should You Be Tested for STDs?

If you’re like most people, you may think, “If I had an STD, I would know it, right?”

Wrong. You can contract a sexually transmitted disease and not show any signs or symptoms. If you’re sexually active, you should get tested for STDs at least once a year — more often if you have anonymous or multiple partners. At 1st Choice Urgent Care, we provide confidential STD testing in a safe, secure, nonjudgmental environment.

About STDs

STDs are an infection caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite you get through sexual contact, whether from vaginal, anal, or any other type of unprotected intimate skin-to-skin contact. It’s estimated that 19 million people contract STDs each year in the US, and most people, at some point in their lives, are affected by some type of sexually transmitted infection.

Common STDs include:

If you don’t know that you have an STD and don’t get treatment, you may develop other health problems and you risk passing the disease onto your partner. STDs are especially problematic for women, as they can lead to infertility.

When should I get tested?

When and how often you get tested for STDs depends on your age and sexual history. Everyone who’s sexually active between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once, and if you engage in unprotected sex, you should get tested annually.

Women who are younger than 25 or have multiple sexual partners should get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia annually.

Due to a link to cervical cancer, women should also be tested for HPV. It’s recommended that you have the HPV DNA test, which can be done at the same time as a Pap test, every three to five years starting at age 21 up through age 70, unless your test comes back abnormal or your cervix has been removed.

When you’re pregnant, we recommend testing for HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia so we can initiate treatment, if needed, to protect the health of your baby.

Sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested annually for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. If you have multiple partners or engage in anonymous sex, you should get tested every three to six months.

Common STD symptoms

While you shouldn’t wait until you have symptoms to get tested for STDs, if you are showing signs of a possible infection, you should come in for an evaluation. Common symptoms of STDs include:

For the record, these symptoms may not necessarily mean you have an STD, but it’s always a good idea to get things checked out so you can get the right diagnosis and treatment.

After the test

STD testing at 1st Choice Urgent Care is discreet and confidential. If your test results come back positive, we will have you come in to go over your results and develop a treatment plan. While we can clear up some STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, there is no cure for HIV or HPV and we can only provide treatment to help manage your symptoms.

If you’re sexually active and have concerns about your sexual health, we can provide answers at our Bakersfield, California office. Call today or book an appointment online.

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