By: Aria Gray MPH: Maternal and Child Health candidate 2017
If you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is one of the most important things you can do for your health. According to the CDC, there are about 20 million new STD infections in the United States every year. While many of us know that it is recommended to get STI tested, the rest of the details aren’t always so clear. When should you get tested and how do you get tested?
- If you have symptoms of an STI you should get tested. Common symptoms include sores on the genitals, discharge, itching, and burning during urination
- Many STIs do not cause symptoms and many people have and spread STIs and never know it. Testing is the only way to know for sure. If you have had unprotected sex, you should get tested for STIs.
- Preventative screening (Check out these screening recommendations from the CDC)
- Make an appointment with your health provider and ask for an STI test
- Your health care provider will talk with you to decide what STI tests make the most sense for you
- Potential STI tests can include
- Physical exam
- Blood sample
- Urine sample
- Discharge, tissue, cell, or saliva sample
Remember that many STIs are curable and all are treatable. The sooner you find out if you have an STI, the sooner treatment can begin.