STD Testing Q & A
What are STDs?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are also commonly called sexually transmitted infections. They are diseases primarily spread through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases are the most common types of contagious diseases, and an estimated 65 million Americans have an incurable type of STD.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 20 million new sexually transmitted disease cases occur each year. Many of those infections occur in younger people, although people of all ages contract STDs.
Why is STD testing so important?
If you’re sexually active, getting screened for STDs is an important part of maintaining optimal health. Many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t create obvious signs and signals that something is wrong.
Left untreated, STDs cause serious health issues. Your fertility can be negatively impacted, you can develop gynecologic cancer, and some infections can even be life-threatening.
In addition to the personal consequences of untreated STDs, there’s also a public health component. If you aren’t aware you have an infection, you can’t pass that information along to your sexual partners and give them the opportunity to protect themselves. That only furthers the spread of STDs and allows these infections to remain a pressing public health concern.
What are common STDs?
There are numerous STDs that negatively impact your health and wellness. Some of the more common include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B
- Genital herpes
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is less common than it once was but still poses a risk, especially among certain populations.
How can I prevent STDs?
The only way to fully protect against all types of sexually transmitted diseases is to refrain from any type of sexual contact. That doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot have a healthy sex life and still protect yourself against infection.
Latex condoms, both male and female, are one of the best ways to protect against STDs. These devices provide a barrier between genitalia, and also block the exchange of bodily fluids. When used properly, condoms are very effective in preventing STDs.
Limiting your number of sexual partners is also an important part of preventing STDs. If you’re involved in a mutually monogamous relationship in which both partners were tested for STDs, your risk level is very low.
In the case of HPV, vaccination greatly reduces your risk level. In fact, many health experts believe HPV vaccination could potentially eliminate most cases of cervical cancer for future generations.
To learn more about STD testing and treatment, schedule an appointment today, online or by phone.