If you have sex, getting a sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is always a potential risk. The more frequently you have new partners, the greater the risk you face. But the truth is that almost anyone can get infected by an STD, and women are more likely than men to experience long-term health consequences from STDs.
Although using condoms may help to reduce transmission, abstinence is really the only way to truly prevent STDs. Not all STDs have symptoms, so STD testing is the best way to know if you’re infected. Our OB/GYN, Dr. Alan Patterson, explains who needs to be tested for STDs.
What kinds of diseases are sexually transmitted
The first thing to know about STDs is which diseases are sexually transmitted, which includes the following:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Hepatitis B (this can also be transmitted in ways other than sex)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can progress to AIDS
It’s also important to know that STDs can be spread by not only vaginal sexual activity, but also oral and anal sex.
Who should get tested and when
Both men and women can have STDs, but they may or may not have symptoms. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still spread the virus to your partner (or they to you.) Here’s an overview of who should get tested and when.
Anyone who has symptoms
If you have symptoms of an STD, which may include vaginal or penile discharge, itching, or burning, you should definitely get tested right away. Dr. Patterson can discreetly perform the testing right in his office and prescribe medications to treat certain STDs if you test positive.
Women under 25
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all sexually active women under 25 get tested every year for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Women over 25 with new sexual partners
Women who are over 25 years old should also get tested at least yearly for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea may lead to a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility and pain.
All people between ages 13 and 64
All people between the age of 13 and 64 should be tested at least once for HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.
Pregnant women should be tested, preferably early in pregnancy, for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis B. These infections can damage the health of a developing baby, so it’s important to test for them as soon as possible. Antibiotics can often treat gonorrhea and chlamydia, although some cases of antibiotic-resistant infection have been seen.
Intravenous drug users and their partners
If you use drugs intravenously -- even if you only do so once -- this significantly increases your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Similarly, if your partner uses drugs intravenously, you’re at risk, too.
Women whose partners have sex with men
If your partner has sex with men, even sometimes, you are at increased risk of contracting STDs. You’re also at risk if your partner has sex with other women. Monogamy is far less risky in terms of STDs than having additional partners.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of an STD and live in or around Coral Springs, Florida, call our office right away. Even if you’re not having symptoms but would just like the peace of mind that testing offers, we’re happy to provide it. Call the office of Dr. Alan Patterson today or request an appointment online.
1. We are still seeing obstetrics patients in our office to ensure that our pregnant patients are getting the care they need. If you are pregnant, please call us to book your appointment today. We are also seeing patients in our office for prenatal care and annual well-woman exams, as well as those who are having gynecological problems or emergencies.
2. Here's what we're doing to ensure the safety of our patients who come into the office for their appointments:
- We are ensuring that patients are not experiencing respiratory issues when they visit our office.
- We are sanitizing all services on a regular basis.
- We are wearing masks and gloves to reduce the probability of virus transmission.
- We are washing our hands for 20 seconds after every interaction we have, inside and outside of the office.
- Patients may not be accompanied by other people at their appointments.
3. We are offering Telemedicine appointments for the following conditions: yeast infections, UTIs, birth control consults, vaginitis (vaginal infections), hormone replacement therapy consults, pre-menopause, menopause, amenorrhea, and abnormal periods. Please call us to determine if your need for services qualifies for a telemedicine appointment.