Your sexual health can affect your overall health. If you are sexually active, it is important that you get tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) also called Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s.)
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year. Half of those infections occur in young adults and adolescents between the ages of 15-24. Although symptoms can occur with infections, most people are asymptomatic meaning they have the infection without having symptoms. Those who are infected with a STI who do not have symptoms can still pass the infection on to others which is why testing is highly recommended for those who are sexually active. Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy.
Left Untreated STI’s can cause1
- Increased risk of giving or getting HIV
- Long term pelvic/abdominal pain
- Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy complications
Who should get tested?2
The CDC Recommends the following testing guidelines
- All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
- All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STI should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
- All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy. At-risk pregnant women should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea starting early in pregnancy. Testing should be repeated as needed to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3- to 6-month intervals).
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent HIV testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).
- Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
Choices offers cost free and confidential STD testing and treatment for both men and women. We can also give you information on specific infections and how they can affect your health, how to talk to your partner, and what you can do to make sure your relationship is healthy.
Being committed to healthy relationships is important to your health as well. For more information on what healthy vs. unhealthy relationships look like, click here.