It may be hard to believe, but worldwide, about one million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are acquired each day. Many STDs trigger noticeable symptoms, making STD testing the only way to know if you’re one of the 20 million new cases of STDs reported in the US each year.
Although STDs are common and nothing to feel embarrassed about, many women feel uncomfortable discussing these infections. At Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada, our board-certified OB/GYNs are dedicated to keeping women of all ages healthy and disease-free with confidential STD screenings.
Our team also wants you to feel comfortable coming to us with questions or concerns about STDs. If you’re wondering who needs to be tested for STDs and how often you should be screened, we can help.
Understanding sexually transmitted diseases
When you get an infection that’s passed through vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse, you acquire what’s called a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. Some people call STDs by other names, such as venereal diseases or STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
There are over 20 different types of STDs, each caused by different bacteria or viruses, but some of the most common STDs in America include:
- Genital warts
- Gonorrhea (“Clap”)
- HIV / AIDS
- Hepatitis B
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) / Genital warts
It’s important to note that some STDs can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, like HPV and herpes, and different STDs have different effects and symptoms, including no symptoms at all until they advance, making STD screening imperative for your health.
Who needs STD testing and when
Abstaining completely from sexual activity is the only way to avoid STDs. However, for most women, that isn’t a practical solution. Instead, STD testing offers one of the best ways to protect yourself and your partner.
Who needs to get STD testing and when you should be tested depends on whether you’re sexually active, your age, your personal medical history, and your sexual health history. At Darin Swainston MD. FACOG, we follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended STD testing schedule for women of all ages, which includes:
- Annual gonorrhea and chlamydia testing: Sexually active women under 25, women over 25 with a new partner or multiple partners, and women of any age with a partner(s) with a diagnosed STD
- One-time HIV screening: All female teens and adults (ages 13 to 64)
- HIV testing every year: Any woman who has had unsafe sex or shared needles
- Early-term screening for syphilis, hepatitis B, and HIV: All pregnant women
- Pregnancy screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia: All at-risk pregnant women
Keep in mind that these are just recommendations. Your provider at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG can make personalized recommendations for specific STD tests and a customized testing schedule.
Different STDs involve different treatment protocols; however, many STDs are treatable with oral medication. At Darin Swainston MD. FACOG, your provider bases your STD treatment plan on the type of infection you have and other factors unique to you.
Keep in mind that the sooner you begin treatment, the more effective it is. As such, it’s important to discuss your risk factors with your provider and make sure you don’t miss any routine STD screenings.
Ready to learn more about STDs? Schedule a confidential screening by calling Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can also book a consultation online at your convenience.