There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion out there about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). For one thing, you might think your symptoms would be obvious if you’ve picked up an STD, or you may think STDs happen only to young people or to those who engage in risky sexual behavior. In reality, however, STDs can happen to anyone who is sexually active, no matter their age — and many people won’t have any obvious symptoms initially.
You may think that your annual health check or gynecological exam includes STD testing, but most providers won’t do a full STD checkup unless you ask them to do one. Dr. Staci McHale at New Beginnings OB-GYN provides comprehensive STD testing for women in the Las Vegas area, and here we outline six major reasons why you should get tested for STDs.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates have hit an all-time high as of their latest report on sexually transmitted infections published in 2017. The report indicates a 22% increase in cases of chlamydia, 67% increase in cases of gonorrhea, and a 76% increase in cases of primary and secondary syphilis since the last report in 2013.
Because many STDs have no obvious symptoms, they can go untreated for long periods of time. About 10-15% of women with untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea infections go on to develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, reduce a woman’s fertility, and increase her chances of future ectopic pregnancies.
Even when untreated STDs don’t affect fertility, they can cause complications in pregnancy for both mother and baby. Some STDs, like HIV and syphilis, can affect an unborn baby in the womb, while others like herpes and gonorrhea can cause infections in a newborn during the journey through the birth canal.
Dr. McHale provides comprehensive STD testing for women in the Las Vegas area, whether they’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy, avoiding pregnancy or post-menopausal.
Not all STDs require penetrative sexual intercourse to be transmitted. Women who have sex with women and virgins can contract sexually transmitted infections, like herpes, through multiple forms of sexual contact.
For the same reasons as the preceding, condoms don’t always provide enough protection. All types of sexual activity put you at risk of contracting an STD, and condoms are not 100% effective at preventing them. Even if you have only had protected sex, you could still have been exposed to STD risks, so testing remains essential.
While the biggest age group affected by STDs is young adults, anyone who engages in sexual activity is at risk. There has been a 151% rise in gonorrhea infections in people aged 55 and over in the US between 2012 and 2016, according to the CDC. People are remaining sexually active well into their senior years, and infections do not discriminate on the basis of age.
Whether you’re a young adult, in a relationship, a prospective parent, or a senior looking for love again, STD testing is an essential part of your preventive health care regimen. The team at New Beginnings OB/GYN provides confidential, sensitive consultations with a full panel of tests for STDs, putting you at ease and giving you complete confidence that your sexual health is in good hands.
If an infection is discovered, New Beginnings OB/GYN puts together a personalized treatment plan to get you back to full health as soon as possible, and help you manage your future STD risks. For a complete sexual health workup, make an appointment online.