In the last four years, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States hit an all-time high, with gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia being at the top of the list. While over the last decade, Americans are reportedly having less sex, the risk of contracting an STD has clearly increased.
At Casa de Salud’s two offices in Los Angeles, California, in downtown and Normandie, we’re concerned with helping people of all ages live their healthiest lives, and that includes getting tested for STDs. Dr. Afshin Akhavan and our caring primary care medical team offer effective treatments to stop the spread of STDs. They also provide compassionate and helpful patient education so you can continue to protect yourself.
Not sure when and if you need STD testing? Here are the top reasons why you should consider it.
Many STDs have no immediate symptoms
You could be infected with an STD and not even realize it, which means you risk spreading it to others as well as facing your own health complications. While most STDs are curable, the sooner you start treatment the better equipped you are to keep the condition under control. Some of the most common STDs that may occur without initial obvious symptoms include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
In some cases, symptoms develop several weeks after you become infected. Left untreated, some of these STDs can affect your ability to get pregnant, damage your reproductive organs, or increase your risk of getting other STDs.
Early diagnosis means less risk of health complications
Early diagnosis of an STD means you can get treatment and potentially avoid future health complications as a result. Dr. Akhavan and our team can advise you regarding a complete treatment plan, including any necessary prescriptions and medications you need to relieve unpleasant symptoms.
You could be infecting others
When you have a symptomless STD that you’re totally unaware of, you run the risk of infecting others. Even if you only have one sexual partner, you put them at risk of contracting an STD from you. When you get tested regularly, it means you also help prevent the spread of common sexually transmitted infections.
You’re sexually active
Even if you’re extremely careful and only have sex using barrier methods of protection, such as condoms and dental dams, you could still contract an STD. Herpes, for example, can still be transmitted from areas of skin not protected by a condom.
If you or your partner have the herpes virus, you’re most susceptible to infection during a breakout of visible sores. However, it’s also possible to spread the virus through your mouth and genitals even when sores aren’t present. If you have sex without a condom, then there is even more of a chance of contracting an STD like herpes.
The bottom line is this: If you’re sexually active, you should get tested for STDs because just because you practice safe sex, it doesn’t guarantee that you’re free of infection. If you have multiple sexual partners, or you’re not 100% sure of your sexual partner’s disease status, it’s important to get tested regularly and practice safe sex to protect yourself.
Additionally, if any of the following applies, it’s important to get tested for STDs:
- Your sexual partner has other partners
- You don’t want to use condoms
- You’re in a new relationship
- You have symptoms that suggest an STD
For long-term, monogamous relationships, once you both get tested and are completely sure neither of you have STDs, you may not need regular testing in the future.
You’re pregnant or plan to have a baby
Because STDs can affect your unborn baby, if you’re pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, you should be tested for STDs at your first prenatal doctor’s appointment. This helps ensure your health as well as your baby’s. Some STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis, can lead to low birth weight, premature birth, and stillbirth.
If you’ve never been tested for STDs, or if you’re concerned about your current sexual health, contact one of our Los Angeles area offices by phone, or book an appointment through our convenient online system today.