When symptoms appear, they vary depending on the disease. If there's a chance that you have an STI, go to a sexual health clinic or family doctor for a free, confidential checkup. If you're sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask if you should be tested for STDs.
If you're not comfortable talking to your regular healthcare provider about STDs, there are many clinics that offer free or low-cost confidential testing. To obtain this medical history, a doctor or nurse practitioner (NP) will ask you questions such as how many partners the person has had. After that, the doctor or the NP will examine the person's genitals. For girls who have symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, this could include a pelvic exam.
Girls who don't have symptoms and who are only being screened for sexually transmitted diseases as part of a routine checkup probably don't need a pelvic exam. The most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV, and HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. And remember to get tested for STDs every year (or more often if recommended by your healthcare provider). The type of test a person is given depends on the type of sexually transmitted disease, symptoms (such as sores, secretions, or pain), and their medical and sexual history.
Many sexually transmitted diseases can be diagnosed with a urine sample (pee) or a swab from the cervix (in women) or urethra (in men). STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are infections that are transmitted primarily through sexual activity, including vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. It's very important to treat STDs as soon as possible so they don't spread to other people or cause long-term problems. Every year, millions of Americans are infected with some type of STD, and half of the diagnoses occur in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.Home test kits are available for several STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis C.
STDs don't always cause symptoms, so it's possible to get or spread an infection even if you or your partner appear to be healthy. If left untreated, certain STDs can cause devastating, long-term health problems, such as blindness, brain damage, infertility, birth defects, and even death.