When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it's important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your health. Symptoms of STDs vary depending on the disease, but if you think you may have been exposed, it's important to get tested. In this article, we'll discuss the most common STDs, how to get tested, and what to do if you have an STD.
What are the Most Common STDs?The most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV, and HPV (human papillomavirus) infection.
It's important to get tested for STDs every year (or more often if recommended by your healthcare provider).
How Do I Get Tested for STDs?If you think you may have been exposed to an STD, it's important to get tested as soon as possible. You can get tested at a sexual health clinic or family doctor for a free, confidential checkup. 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 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). Home test kits are available for several STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis C.
What Should I Do If I Have an STD?If you test positive for an STD, it's important to follow your doctor's instructions for treatment. Many STDs can be treated with antibiotics or other medications. It's also important to let any sexual partners know that they may have been exposed so they can get tested and treated as well.
ConclusionSTDs 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. That's why it's so important to get tested regularly and take steps to protect yourself from STDs.