You may have heard the terms STI and STD and wondered what the difference is between them. Simply stated, an STD (sexually transmitted disease) is a later stage of an STI (sexually transmitted infection). A person has symptoms with an STD, but STIs are often symptomless.
Who Needs STI Screening?
If you are considering abortion for an unexpected pregnancy, STI screening is crucial. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following testing guidelines for chlamydia and gonorrhea:
- All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested every year.
- Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested every year.
- At-risk pregnant women should be tested starting early in pregnancy.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year.
Now that you know who needs STI screening, let’s examine why it is important.
4 Reasons Why STI Screening Is Important
1. STIs are common.
If you are sexually active, it is possible to contract an STI, even if you have only had one partner and use a condom. The CDC reports 20 million new STIs each year.
2. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are usually symptomless.
You can’t count on symptoms to alert you that you might have an STI because the most common STIs are often symptomless. Chlamydia is known as the “silent infection.” Most women do not have symptoms with gonorrhea either, and if they do, they often mistake them for a bladder or vaginal infection.
3. STI screening is easy, accessible, and quick.
STI screening only requires a urine sample. At Willow Womens Center, we offer the only free STI screening for women and men in Rock County.
What happens at an STI screening appointment at Willow Womens Center?
We provide STI services because we care for you and your health. When you come to Willow Womens Center for STI screening, you will be treated with respect and never judged for your sexual history. Your appointment is confidential.
- Arrive at your appointment, and do not urinate (pee) for about an hour beforehand.
- After a brief intake, you will be asked to provide a urine sample.
- A licensed, registered nurse will provide you education about gonorrhea and chlamydia, the two STIs that are screened.
- We will offer you an appointment in about one week for your test results.
- If your test result is positive for chlamydia, we will give you a prescription to fill. Be sure to take the medication as directed until it is gone — even if your symptoms go away.
- If your test result is positive for gonorrhea, we will give you a referral for treatment.
- The state requires the testing company to report all positive test results to the public health department.
- If your test result is positive, we recommend you get retested in three months to ensure that your treatment was effective.
- The entire appointment is quick, lasting less than thirty minutes.
4. Early STI detection and treatment can preserve future fertility.
Untreated STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), scarring, and cause infertility (inability to get pregnant) for men and women.