How often should I test for STDs? This is a great question. Especially since many STDs do not show any signs or symptoms, but early detection and simple treatment could keep both men and women from having irreversible damage.
Males and Females Having Sex
Having said that, if you are sexually active and under the age of 25, it is essential that you receive lab testing for STDs at least yearly. This is especially true for women in this age group for gonorrhea and chlamydia, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Same goes for sexually active people over the age of 25 who have multiple sex partners or have a new partner. Again, this is especially true for the women in this age group for gonorrhea and chlamydia, according to the CDC.
Of course, if you change partners frequently, it may benefit you to be tested more often, and the CDC recommends that pregnant women be screened as well.
The Importance of Testing for Women
The reason why women, in particular, should be tested for STDs is because they are more at risk for harming their reproductive organs than males, in the case of diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia. These two diseases many times do not have symptoms, and like many STDs, they are not normally tested for during a PAP.
Moreover, if a woman with an STD does become pregnant, having an untreated STD can harm their infant. In fact, the CDC recommends testing all pregnant women for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B. For at-risk pregnant women (who have had multiple sex partners or have used injection drugs) gonorrhea testing is also recommended at the first prenatal visit.
Urine and Blood Testing
Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common STDs. It is important to note that STD testing can be purchased directly by the consumer online, and non-invasive urine testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia is available.
Nevertheless, you should also know that if you do test positive for gonorrhea and chlamydia, you absolutely run a higher risk of being infected with other STDs, and you should receive testing for hepatitis B and C, HIV, herpes and possibly syphilis. These diseases are normally detected through the blood, and this blood testing can also be purchased confidentially online.
For people with a high risk, such as those with multiple sex partners and injection drug users, confidential peace of mind STD testing that includes screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C, herpes, HIV, and syphilis is available. More than likely this comprehensive testing can be purchased not only affordably but also at a significant cost savings, as compared to purchasing all tests separately.
Men Having Sex with Men
For men who have sex with men, it is recommended by the CDC that you get chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis testing done yearly.
Keep in mind, too, that hepatitis B and C and herpes can be spread within this population as well.
HIV Blood Testing
The CDC recommends HIV screening for everyone between the ages of 13 and 64. However, the following groups have a higher risk for HIV infection and should be screened for HIV at least annually: Injection drug users and their sex partners, persons who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of HIV-infected persons, and all people who either have had more than one sex partner themselves or whose sex partners have had more than one partner since their last test.
Those in the healthcare field could be at a high risk for STDs, especially if they work around blood or if an accidental needle sticking occurs. For these professionals, the CDC recommends that they be sure to take a sexual health history of their patients and follow up with STD counseling, vaccination, testing, and if needed, treatment.
Remember that your sexual health is important, and ordering confidential testing is right at your fingertips.