STD Testing and Sexual Health

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We’ve all heard about them, but are they really that common?

More than you probably realize.

To give us a better idea of just how far reaching the issue is, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published data reports:

  • 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, you can contract an STD.

The only way to completely protect yourself is to remain abstinent.

Understanding STDs

STDs stem from viruses that are spread from vaginal, anal, and oral contact.

Even though anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting one, those at a higher risk include:

  • 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 your chances of getting an STD

There are a variety of ways to decrease 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.

STDs can be asymptomatic. This means you could have one without ever experiencing signs or symptoms.

When should I get tested?

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

If you’re sexually active, the risk is there. You should be tested annually for STDs. Those at higher risk of STDs (multiple partners, anonymous partners, unprotected sex) may need screened more frequently.

Whatever your reason for STD or Sexual Health testing, Test Smartly Labs is here to provide accurate and confidential services.