Are you a sexually active adult? If so, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) should be a real concern. While most STDs can be prevented with the use of a condom, many people choose not to use condoms for a variety of reasons. Unprotected sex can lead you vulnerable to herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and a wide range of other dangerous diseases. While some can be treated easily, others, like HIV, require a lifetime of medications and treatments. Getting tested for STDs can give you peace of mind and can help you identify an STD early so you can seek treatment. You can also take a break from sexual activity so you don't infect anyone else. Below are a few signs you should get tested.
You are sexually active, especially as a bisexual or gay man. If you are sexually active with multiple partners, you should get tested every few months. This is true even if you don't have symptoms of an STD. Regular tests can reassure you and your partners that there is little risk of an STD. This is especially important for bisexual and gay men. STDs tend to spread at higher rates within the gay male community. This is because some gay men are frequently sexually active with many partners, and STDs can be transmitted easily through anal sex. If you are an active bisexual or gay man, you may want to get tested monthly.
You have symptoms. Symptoms are another sign that you should get tested. STD symptoms could include genital burning or itching, pain during intercourse, bumps near your genitals, an unusual smell from your genitals after sex, discharge, and more. If you have symptoms, tell your doctor about them before you get tested. They may change the type of test they use to align with your symptoms. For example, they may use a blood test instead of a urine test to get more accurate results.
You were recently treated for an STD. Did you recently receive treatment for an STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea? If so, getting tested after your treatment is important to see if you can still transmit the disease to other people. You shouldn't resume sexual activity until you get a negative test. If you have a permanent STD like HIV, a test can show whether the virus is still detectable. Technically, undetectable levels of HIV can not be transmitted to others. However, even if you are undetectable, you should still practice safe sex and inform potential partners upfront so they can decide whether to proceed.
It's never been easier to get tested for STDs. Many clinics offer testing for free or low cost. Also, nearly all clinics now use blood or urine tests. The intrusive use of swabs is a thing of the past. Contact a testing clinic near you, like Bartow Family Resources Medical today to schedule your test.