Why Is Getting Tested for STDs So Important?
The topic doesn’t come up in general conversation all that often, and most people who end up with one will never share the details with others due to negative stigma. Sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs or STIs) are a growing concern among the sexually active population.
How Common Are STDs?
Studies show that half of all sexually active people will contract an STD by the time they hit the age of 25. It is also estimated by the Centers for Disease Control that 20 million new cases of STIs will occur annually in the United States. Most of these new infections are among people between the ages of 15 and 24. Some STDs are more prevalent than others in the United States.
The three most common STDs are chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. In 2015, the numbers of reported cases hit record levels, and chlamydia became the highest reported condition to the CDC at 1.5 million people. Other STDs continue to grow in numbers, such as:
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
What are the Symptoms of STDs?
Every STD can come along with its own set of symptoms, and some symptoms can be easily related to some other health concern or problem. Therefore, many STDs go grossly underreported. Some of the most common symptoms of STDs include:
- Redness, swelling, a rash, or irritation in the vaginal or penile area
- Bumps, lesions, warts, or sores around or near the anus, vagina, penis, or mouth
- Unusual discharge from the vagina or penis
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal bleeding that is not due to menses
- Itching near the vagina or the penis
Are There STDs That Show No Symptoms?
Several types of STDs do not have any immediate symptoms, some STDs have very subtle symptoms easily blamed on something else, and some STDs simply have no outward symptoms at all. Nevertheless, an STD with no symptoms can still be transmitted to a partner in most cases. A few examples include:
- About 70% of females and 50% of males do not show symptoms with chlamydia
- Symptoms with genital herpes may not show up for many months or years later
- Individuals with genital warts often do not have obvious warts
Health Complications of Not Treating STDs
The unfortunate thing about STDs that do not show obvious symptoms is many people never get tested because they do not suspect anything is wrong. Furthermore, some people avoid seeking treatment because of the stigma surrounding STDs. There are many health complications that can come along with not getting proper treatment. One of the most prevalent is infertility. The CDC says undiagnosed STIs cause roughly 24,000 infertile females annually. Pelvic inflammatory disease, certain types of cancer, and other conditions can come along with no treatment. Of course, not getting treated can contribute to the transmission of the infection to other partners.
The First Step to Take If You Suspect You Have an STD
The first step to take if you suspect you have an STD, or even if you just want to make sure you don’t, is to get tested. These days, testing doesn’t even have to involve going to a health care provider for the initial screenings. You can get an at-home STD test from Let’s Get Checked that you can take in the privacy of your home. The kit allows you to get tested for the 10 most common STDs, and your results are available online within a few days after you send your test kit back. So, getting checked is quick, private, and easy.