STD Testing and Sexual Health

How common are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

VERY.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published data to help us understand exactly how far-reaching the issue goes:

  • 20 million new infections each year
  • 110 million total infections (new and existing) at any given time
  • $16 billion – what STDs are costing us in medical expenses

If you’re sexually active, there’s a chance you can get an STD.

The only way to not get an STD is to avoid sex (in any way).

About STDs

STDs are infections that come from viruses. You can get an STD from vaginal, anal and oral sex.

While anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting one, there’s a few people with a higher risk of getting an STD:

  • Adolescents (starts in early teens) and young adults (age 18-40)
  • Homosexual men (gay, bisexual) and men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Some racial and ethnic minorities

The United States Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening in adults and adolescents ages 15-65,

How to lower the likelihood of getting an STD

There’s several ways to lower your chances of getting an STD, even if you plan to still have sex:

  • One partner – if you only have sex with one person, you’ll lower your chances of getting an STD, especially if that person has tested negative for an STD.
  • Known partner – sleeping with anonymous partners will increase your chances of getting an STD.
  • Use protection – proper use of a latex condom will decrease the chances of getting an STD.

It’s important to know – however – that even if you’re not showing any signs or symptoms of having an STD, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

When to test for an STD?

Screening recommendations for STDs vary based on your age, sexual history and sexual partners.

Anyone having sex is at risk of STDs and should be tested at least once a year for an STD. Those at higher risk of STDs (multiple partners, anonymous partners, unprotected sex) may need screened more often.

For whatever reason you find yourself needing STD or Sexual Health testing, Test Smartly Labs can help.