Did you know that the World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 million individuals acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD) daily? Also alarming is that many people might not even have symptoms right away, which puts even more people at risk. STD testing can help you get the treatment you need even before your symptoms appear.
There’s another bonus to routine STD testing: You can help protect yourself by knowing where you stand as well as help prevent the unintentional spread of STDs to a partner. Our team of providers at SmartClinic Urgent Care recommends that you come in to see us if you’re concerned about STDs.
Who should be tested for STDs?
All sexually active individuals should be tested for STDs. You can contract a sexually transmitted infection at any age, and you’re at greater risk of getting an STD if you have more than one sexual partner or don’t use a condom during intercourse.
How often do you need STD testing?
What type of test and how often depends on a few factors. There are many types of STDs and many different types of tests. Depending on which infection you’re concerned about, your provider may suggest:
- A swab
- A urine sample
- A blood test
- A combination of the above
These testing methods can detect a variety of STDs, including — but not limited to — herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and hepatitis B.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide specific guidelines for testing schedules. How often you need an STD test depends on:
- Your age
- Your gender
- Your sexual orientation and number of partners
- Whether you’re pregnant
- Whether you’re experiencing symptoms
Testing schedules can be broken down into three categories: annual, interval, or special cases.
Annual testing may be beneficial if you’ve engaged in sexual activity at least one time per year. The CDC also suggests annual testing if you’ve never had any STD testing before or if you practice safe sex in a committed relationship.
Sometimes annual testing isn’t frequent enough. The CDC recommends interval testing if you practice unsafe sex or have multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
The CDC also recommends interval testing for sexually active gay men and bisexual individuals. Intervals range from 3-6 months. One of our compassionate health care providers can help you determine the best interval schedule for your needs.
Even with routine testing (either annual or interval), you might need an STD test outside of your normal schedule. For instance, all pregnant mothers receive an STD test during routine prenatal care. You might also need to schedule a test if:
- You have a new sexual partner
- You develop symptoms of an STD, such as a genital sore
- You develop symptoms that mimic an STD
Tip: Some STDs may cause symptoms that mimic other conditions — like yeast infections. In these cases, it’s best to get an official diagnosis so you can swift treatment and prompt relief from your symptoms.
We know that talking about STDs and sexual history can sometimes be awkward, but rest assured that our team of providers is compassionate, understanding, and discreet. We can help you determine the testing schedule that is right for you, and we can also provide treatment for any infections that you do have.
If you’d like to discuss your STD testing or treatment needs, don’t hesitate to call either SmartClinic Urgent Care location in West Covina or Canyon Country, California. We also accept walk-ins.