Did you know that adults are supposed to get tested for STDs every year, or even more often depending on their sexual activity? You may think it’s easier to ignore your sexual health, due to the stigmas around it, but maintaining your sexual health is vital to your overall health as well.
At Local MD Urgent Care, we understand your hesitation surrounding STD testing and have worked to make these visits as discreet, judgement-free, and stress-free as possible! We are fully equipped to handle testing for many STDs, including HIV, chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, and other venereal diseases (VD).
What’s the difference between STDs and STIs?
The first difference between STDs and STIs is in the name. STD stands for sexually transmitted disease, whereas STI means sexually transmitted infection. Essentially, the difference is between a disease and an infection.
Not all diseases begin with infections, but many do. Sexually transmitted disease first begin as sexually transmitted infections. Infection occurs with the sexually transmitted bacteria or virus first enters the body and begins multiplying.
Once the sexually transmitted bacteria or viruses have entered the body, the infection may progress into a disease. Disease occurs when this foreign presence officially disrupts the body’s normal functions and processes.
What is a STD?
STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease, which is a disease that is spread through sexual behavior like vaginal intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or sometimes intimate skin-to-skin contact. Some types of STDs are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Herpes, HPV and HIV.
How do I know if I have a STD?
There is no way to know for sure without being tested. Many STDs don’t have obvious symptoms. Being sexually active can include vaginal intercourse, anal and/or oral sex. When doctors or nurses ask this question, they are really asking if you've done anything since your last check up that might have exposed you to an STD or pregnancy. STD tests should be part of your regular check-up. But, if you have any concerns at all that you may have been exposed to an STD, see a doctor and ask to be tested.
What are the symptoms of STDs?
Many STDs may have no symptoms at all or the signs are so mild that you may not notice, which is why getting tested at least once a year is a great idea. However, if you have any of the symptoms described below, you should seek care right away because they may be signs that you have an STD.
Discharge or unusual fluid that may be white or yellow that comes out of the vagina or penis (not semen).
An unexplained rash
A burning sensation when urinating (peeing), going to the bathroom.
Bumps, sores, blisters, or warts on the genital area - in women this includes the outer and inner lips, vagina and clitoris. In men this includes the penis and testicles.
Should I get tested for a STD?
Anyone who has had vaginal, anal or oral sex with a new partner should be tested. Everyone who is sexually active should be tested during regular check-ups. Pregnant women should also be tested.
How often should I get tested?
We recommend a minimum of once per year even if you are having safe sex with just one partner. If you have unprotected sex, we recommend getting tested right away. If you are participating in casual sex, we recommend at least every six months.
How are STDs treated?
Most, if not all, STDs that are curable can be treated with a prescribed antibiotic from the medical practitioner at On Dmed Urgent Care. If you are pregnant, be sure to let your provider know, as this could change the prescription you are given to keep your baby safe.
Can condoms prevent STDs?
While condoms are not a 100% guarantee that you will not contract a STI, it greatly reduces your overall risk. Ensure you and your partner are using condoms EVERY TIME you engage in sexual activity.
How can I prevent STDs?
Having open and honest communication between you and any sexual partners prior to engaging in sexual activity is a great first step! Also, taking precautions and using condoms can greatly decrease the risk of developing an STD.
Can I get an STD from oral sex?
Yes. A common misconception is that you cannot get an STD from giving or receiving oral sex. This is not true. Gonorrhea and herpes are commonly transmitted through oral sex.
Can I get an STD if I’m a virgin?
It really depends on how you define being a virgin. As mentioned before, STDs can be transmitted through oral and anal sex, but many people believe that if they haven’t had vaginal intercourse they are still a virgin. Some STDs can be transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact even when there isn’t any penetration.
How many people have STDs?
About 1 in 4 young adults have an STD. It could be even more because many people who are infected don’t realize it.