Would it surprise you to hear that you can have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and not realize it? Many STIs don’t have symptoms, so most people who have an STI do not have a clue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This news can be frightening to hear, but knowledge is power, and it allows you an opportunity to protect yourself and get proper treatment if needed. All STIs are treatable, and most are curable with antibiotic medication.
Read on to learn how you can take control of your health with an STI screening.
What Is an STI Screening?
We understand that the thought of a STI screening can feel a little scary or embarrassing, but there is no reason to be worried. Infections passed through sexual contact are very common and easily contracted, and the only way to know for sure if you have been infected is to be tested — also known as STI screening.
STI screening is confidentially conducted at a physician’s office or clinic. The most common STIs screened for are gonorrhea and chlamydia because the number of cases keeps rising, and there are 2.3 million newly diagnosed cases each year in the United States.
Most STI testing can be done with a quick and simple urine sample. Sometimes a swab or blood test is needed. Home STI testing kits are also available, but drawbacks include cost and reliability in reading results.
Do You Need an STI Screening?
If you have never had sexual contact of any kind, you do not need an STI screening. If you have ever had sex, you do need an STI screening, even if:
- You have only had sex one time.
- You have never had vaginal sex, but you have had anal or oral sex.
- You have only been with one partner.
- You believe you are in a mutually monogamous relationship.
- You used a barrier-type of protection.
Undiagnosed and untreated STIs can lead to severe consequences for your reproductive health. It can cause you to suffer from future chronic pain, infertility, increased cancer risk, and more. The CDC provides STI screening guidelines for women to help protect you. The recommendations include:
- All sexually active women under age 25 should be tested yearly for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
- Women aged 25 and older should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia yearly if they have changed sexual partners, have multiple partners, or a partner diagnosed with an STI.
- All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy to prevent complications.
Take Control of Your Health With an STI Screening Today
At Willow Womens Center, we can help you get answers to protect your health with a no-cost, confidential STI screening. Our licensed healthcare professionals offer STI testing services for chlamydia and gonorrhea. We will review your test results with you, listen to your concerns, and answer your questions. If your test is positive for chlamydia, you will be given a prescription. We can also provide you with referrals for the treatment of gonorrhea and/or for additional testing if needed. Contact us today for a confidential appointment.