Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are everywhere. One in five Americans has one. STDs cut across all demographics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status.
Every sexually active American should receive STD testing. Yet many people balk at the concept.
They are concerned about what others might think of them if they get tested. They think testing is painful or ineffective. That is far from the truth. Get the facts you need, then get the tests that can save your life. Here is your quick guide.
Why Regular Testing?
Some people understand the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases. What they don’t get is why regular tests matter. There are several distinct reasons why doctors recommend regular testing.
Many diseases do not show initial symptoms. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes can present in the body without symptoms.
The ones that do show symptoms are often mistaken for another condition. HIV/AIDS presents with flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills. This leads many people to believe that they have the flu, which allows the virus to spread.
Most symptoms of STDs do not appear on the body. You cannot know someone has an STD by looking at them.
Having multiple partners significantly increases the risk of acquiring an STD. Having anonymous sex or anal and/or oral sex are also risk factors.
You can acquire a sexually transmitted disease without having sex. Sharing needles can spread blood contaminated with a virus. You can receive diseases like herpes through kissing and skin contact.
Regular testing provides peace of mind. It gives you up-to-date information about your health that you can talk to your partners about.
Misconceptions About STD Screening
One of the biggest reasons why people put off testing is because they think their status will get leaked. STD testing and screening are straightforward and private. A doctor cannot share your results with other people unless you authorize them to do so.
All forms of testing are pain-free. You may need to get blood drawn, but that’s not the case for all tests. A skin or throat swab is usually enough for a diagnosis.
STD testing is also affordable. Most health insurance packages cover tests and sexual health programs. You will not need to pay out of pocket.
You can get tested for multiple STDs at one time. Many people think that STD tests are limited to one particular disease. That is true, but you can get multiple tests in order to assess different conditions.
False positives often make the news. Yet they rarely happen. STD testing produces false positives just as often as other tests, which is less than one percent of the time.
The Guidelines of STD Testing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have several guidelines for STI testing. These guidelines apply to many kinds of people, which makes it important to get tested on a regular basis.
Anyone who is sexually active should get HIV and AIDS testing at least once per year. Men who have sex with men or people who have multiple sexual partners should also get annual tests. People who are engaged in sexual activity with partners who have HIV or another STI should get testing more often.
All women should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Men who have sex with men should get tests at least once per year. Once they are ready, anyone who is forced to engage in sexual activity should consider getting tested.
Anyone who has unprotected sex should get syphilis and trichomoniasis. Pregnant women should get a test for hepatitis B. Adolescents as young as 13 can receive tests. Elderly people can also get tested, especially if they are sexually active.
What a Test Entails
You do not need to make extensive preparations for any STD testing. For some tests, you should hold in your urine for an hour so you can provide a sample. You do not have to tell anyone that you are getting STD testing. You can bring your partner or a friend with you, or you can go alone. All you need to do is schedule an appointment and head over. You may be able to get a same-day appointment.
Nearly all tests involve a cheek or skin swab, a urine sample, or a blood sample. None of these are labor-intensive. You can remain seated while the sample is taken, and you can head home right away.
If you have questions, you can talk to your doctor. You can receive literature on STDs or you can get a referral for therapy.
Most test results come back within 48 hours. Remain calm. While you wait, do something that occupies you and takes your mind off the test. If you are comfortable talking to your partner, feel free to do so. Start the conversation off with important facts and gestures that show that you care. Your partner may also want to get tested, so give them your doctor’s contact information.
You can start treatment for any STD right away. You can live a full life without worry, and some conditions are completely curable.
Get Premium and Confidential STD Testing
STDs are tricky. Many present no symptoms, and the ones that do get diagnosed as something else. Many people fall under government guidelines for testing, including people with multiple sexual partners.
STD testing is pain-free, affordable, and effective. Your results remain confidential. You can talk to your partner about your testing, or you can keep things to yourself. You will receive results within a few days. You can then begin treatment right away.
You deserve confidential and effective health care. The Valley Medical Clinic has more than 20 years of experience in serving El Paso residents. Contact us today.