Any sexually active person is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Highly contagious infections, STDs affect both men and women, and anyone — no matter your age, sexual orientation, marital status, or number of partners — can transmit and catch an STD.
Getting tested for STDs is quick and easy, and brings many benefits. At Beth and Howard Braver, MD in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, our experienced and compassionate medical team wants to help you understand if you should be tested for STDs.
Continue reading to learn more about STDs, the benefits STD testing brings, and if and when you should be tested.
What are STDs?
Before exploring STD testing and its benefits, we want to explain what STDs are and how they’re transmitted. Let’s review the basics and explore why STDs have such an impact on your health.
STDs, sometimes referred to as venereal diseases or STIs (sexually transmitted infections), are infections spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sexual intercourse. There are more than 25 types of STDs, all caused by different viruses or strains of bacteria. They come with different symptoms, or sometimes no symptoms at all.
STDs are quite common. There are about 20 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States. Some STDs are curable, especially with early intervention and treatment. But others have no cure, like HIV/AIDS, and can potentially lead to death.
STDs have a significant impact on your health, so take them seriously. When detected early, treatment is more effective and can save your life and the life of your partner.
How are STD tests beneficial?
STD tests allow us to treat and end many STDs before they develop into more serious and potentially irreversible symptoms. For STDs that cannot be cured, testing stops you from spreading the disease to others and is a starting point for treatments.
Tests offer you peace of mind since they are the only way to confirm if you have an STD, which may develop into a more serious condition. This protects your partner’s health and helps stop the spread or development of STDs.
The tests help you get early and effective treatment for STDs, including HIV, which could slow its development and prolong your life.
Untreated STDs can negatively affect your fertility, so testing helps protect your ability to have children. If you’re already pregnant, testing and treatment also protect your unborn baby from getting infected.
When do I need to be tested?
If you are sexually active, protect your health and your partner’s health by including an STD test in your regular health care routine. Depending on your current and previous sexual history, your risk of contracting an STD may be higher than average.
At Beth and Howard Braver, MD, we discuss and recommend personal testing needs for you, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted general recommendations for testing. Here’s a summary:
- Everyone ages 13-64 should test for HIV at least one time
- All sexually active bisexual and gay men should test annually for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
- Sexually active bisexual and gay men with many or anonymous partners should be tested every 3-6 months for all STDs, including HIV
- Sexually active women under 25 should test for gonorrhea and chlamydia annually
- Women over 25 with new or multiple partners, or women with a partner who has an STD should have annual gonorrhea and chlamydia testing
- Pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B in early pregnancy
- Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares needles should have an annual HIV test
Testing for STDs is easy and comfortable at Beth and Howard Braver, MD, and you can rest assured that your test results are confidential. If you test positive for any STD, we’re ready to help you get the treatment you need.
Schedule private and confidential STD testing at our offices in Aventura or Hollywood, Florida, by booking online or calling the location nearest you.