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. STDs don't always cause symptoms, so it's possible to get or spread an infection even if you or your partner seem healthy. 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.Be sure to have an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your sexual history and STD testing and ask if you should be tested for STDs.
STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are infections that are transmitted primarily through sexual activity, including vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. Home test kits are available for several sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis C. If you're sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. 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.
The most common STDs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV, and HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. If left untreated, certain STDs can cause devastating, long-term health problems, such as blindness, brain damage, infertility, birth defects, and even death.