Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are considered to be one of the most common health issues in the United States. Reinfections after being positive for an STD are very common with many people have a repeat infection within months of treatment.
STDs are caused by viruses and bacteria passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse. Over the years, different styles of condoms have helped to prevent the spread of some diseases, as have medications for curable STDs. However, when you test positive for an STD, it is not always a guarantee if it is curable depending on the STD you have contracted. When practicing unsafe sex, you and your partner are at higher risk for contracting an STD during intercourse.
Let’s say you always practice safe sex but never get tested, that is not being the smartest or safest with sex. While you may be tested once a year, that may not be enough depending on your sexual activity and exposure with new partners. Testing as frequently as every 3-6 months may be necessary for your health and safety.
Although you may use condoms each time you have vaginal or anal intercourse, you also need to consider contracting an STD through oral sex. While condoms are often seen as a form of birth control, they are also a great form of protection from certain STDs. However, remember that some diseases can be contracted simply from skin-to-skin contact where a condom does not protect. No matter the style of sex you prefer, you should wear a condom for each action.
When to Get Tested
It is very important to pay attention to your body and get tested not only every 3-6 months, but also get tested when you think you need it. Testing is not limited to people who practice unsafe sex or have multiple partners. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, you should still be tested every few months for preventative measures.
There are also different signs and symptoms for men and women depending on the sexually transmitted disease. There are many common symptoms so pay attention to the following:
Symptoms for women:
● Abnormal vaginal discharge
● Burning sensation when urinating
● Bleeding between periods or during intercourse
Symptoms for men:
● Abnormal discharge from the penis
● Burning sensation when urinating
● Swelling and pain of the testicles
Due to the fact that many people with sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, do not show symptoms it is important to be tested every few months. If STDs are left untreated, they can cause long-term permanent damage to your health. Depending on the sexually transmitted disease that you may test positive, it is possible to be treated with an antibiotic.
If you or your partner have come back positive, it is essential that you keep in contact with your doctor and go back for retesting. After taking medication for treatment of the STD, it is important you take a test of cure to be sure the treatment was effective and that you have not become reinfected . It is ideal to wait 2-3 months after completing treatment before you re-test.
One of the best ways to remember when you need to get retested is by setting a reminder notification on your phone, write it on your calendar, or ask your doctor’s office to call to remind you. You need to do whatever will be best for you to remember and keep you healthy.
In some cases, it is recommended to be tested more frequently. If you are involved with a partner and you are not sure if they are monogamous or if you engage in high-risk sexual behavior, you should strongly consider being tested on a regular basis.
Be sure to talk to your health care provider and find out what tests are best for you depending on your lifestyle. If you are looking for an easy way to test yourself, purchase a kit from SelfCollect! Our STD panels and kits are meant to allow quick and easy testing. In a 4 easy step process, all you need to do is select your test, receive your kit, collect your sample and mail back your kit. With a unique order number, you will view the results securely online from our CLIA certified medical laboratory partner. Don’t be afraid. Be smart and get tested!