There are a number of responsibilities that come with sex and being tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is one of them. Even though you should not feel ashamed if you contract an STD, ignorance is definitely not bliss. There are actually some untreated STDs that can lead to infertility and other complications.
While many individuals are aware of the importance of STD testing, there are still many who are not doing it often enough or even getting tested at all. It is important to know your up-to-date STD status. That is because this information enables you and potential sex partners to make wiser, more informed decisions regarding your sexual activities.
Minimum STD Testing for Everyone
For sexually-active individuals under 25 years, an annual STD check is highly recommended by medical experts. For those who are older, getting checked annually is still a good idea, particularly if you are having unprotected sex with partners whose STD status is unknown. Sexually active or not, everyone should get a minimum of one HIV test during their lifetime. Individuals who are sexually active should continue to have an annual HIV test.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that homosexual males should undergo STD testing more often than other individuals. While it is recommended that everyone has annual screenings; homosexual males, especially those with multiple sexual partners, should be tested roughly every 3 to 6 months.
This is recommended by the CDC because studies have found that homosexual and bisexual individuals have a higher rate of STDs. Even though this is a stigma frequently assigned to homosexuals and bisexuals, it has some logic behind it. The CDC has reported that men who have sex with men make up approximately 60 percent of syphilis cases and made up the majority of new syphilis and gonorrhea cases in a 2016 study conducted by CDC. Since 2000, these types of infections have been on the increase among the men who have sex with each other. However, it should be kept in mind that regardless of sexuality or gender, you can be affected by an STD.
While this is not often discussed, it is essential for pregnant women to be checked for multiple STDs during their check-up. This will significantly contribute to the safety of the expectant mother and the unborn child. The majority of doctors will ensure this type of screening takes place; however, there is no harm in asking.
Importance of Regular STD Testing
Based on the infection, there are certain STDs that may display no physical symptoms and could lay dormant in the body for quite some time. Some have a more extended incubation period, which means that your latest STD test could get out of date quite rapidly. Frequent STD testing is vital to keep you and your partners aware.
Medical experts have reported that there are a number of individuals who are not getting frequent STD testing. These professionals are of the belief that the majority of individuals are not being regularly tested for STDs. As such, cases of the different types of infections are on the rise and the frequency with which they are being contracted is scary.
The frequency of STDs is rising steeply around the country. Since there are a number of STDs that show no physical symptoms, this could have a profound impact on the long-term complications for individuals of this generation who are sexually active. There is no evidence of gonorrhea cases that are resistant to multiple drugs. There is also a 30 percent increase in syphilis, which was exceptionally rare in many regions just a decade ago.
Unfortunately, there are stigmas that surround STDs and the thought of STD testing can leave many feeling too ashamed or too nervous to find out their status. This results in proper precautions not being taken to stem the spread of the infections.
Undoubtedly, issues like fear, anxiety, confusion and the willful ignorance of some individuals to address their sexual health put others at risk. Long-term consequences of STDs could cause problems such as issues with your urinary system and infertility. In extreme cases, individuals could develop cancer and die from complications of untreated STDs.
You should undergo frequent STD testing even if you believe you do not need it. You should also encourage your sexual partners to do the same. Even though this is not the most fun or easiest conversation to start, both of your statuses should be discussed before you engage in any sort of sexual contact.
Even after you have this very important conversation, you should ensure that you still use protection, regardless of the type of sex in which you are engaging. If you and your partners are tested regularly and condoms are used during anal, vaginal and/or oral sex, your risks can be greatly reduced.