Are you wondering where to get tested for STDs? WIthout compromising your privacy? Here are your best options
Today, 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by age 25, according to the American Sexual Health Association. The alarming statistic underscores the need for STD screenings. Unfortunately, only about 12 percent actually do. While many lack proper education, some don’t want to get tested out of fears for their privacy.
Advance ER in Dallas, TX is here with advice on how and where to get tested for STDs so you can protect your health.
The Rise of STDs
STD statistics in the U.S. are frightening. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), STDs were at all-time lows not too long ago. Today, the rates of STD infections is rapidly increasing, including the spread of HIV, HPV, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis.
Here are some STD statistics to illustrate the problem:
Half of STDs are among young people age 15-26
1 million people in the U.S. have HIV (1 in 7 don’t know it)
80% of sexually active people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the cause of over 31,000 cases of cancer every year
1 in 8 people aged 14-49 has genital herpes
There are about 1.5 million cases of chlamydia
About 850,000 people have hepatitis B, but some believe the number could be as high as 2.2 million
Why STD Testing and Treatment Matters
Perhaps the most alarming statistic is that the majority of people who have an STD never get tested and never get treated. They risk spreading the disease to others. Untreated STDs can also lead to a number of serious health complications, including infertility in women and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
If you are sexually active, you should get tested regularly, even if you use protection such as a condom.
Know the Symptoms of STDs
It's also important to know the symptoms of STDs. If you experience any of these symptoms, get screened right away.
Symptoms of STDs according to the Mayo Clinic include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals, mouth or rectal area
- Pain or burning during urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding
- Pain during intercourse
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes in the groin area
- Lower abdominal pain
- A rash over the torso (trunk), hands, and feet
It should be noted that many people never develop symptoms. This makes STD testing even more essential.
What Type of Testing Is Involved?
There are three main ways to diagnose STDs. If you suspect you have been exposed, you can request a screening.
Blood test - Usually used to confirm or diagnose HIV and late-stage syphilis
Urine testing - Used for many types of STDs
Fluid samples - When there are genital sores present, fluid samples will be used to diagnose the type of infection
Who Should Be Screened for STDs?
The Mayo Clinic suggests that sexually active people age 13-64 should be tested for HIV.
People born between 1945 - 1965 should be tested for hepatitis C.
Pregnant women should be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia, and syphilis at the first prenatal visit. Screenings for gonorrhea and hepatitis C should be done at some point during the pregnancy.
Women age 21+ should get a pap smear every year to check for abnormalities and precancerous changes due to HPV.
Sexually active women under age 25 should be tested for chlamydia.
Men who have sex with other men are at higher risk for STDs and should be tested for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
People who have HIV are at higher risk of getting other STDs and should be tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes, as well as hepatitis C.
If you have a new partner, get tested for STDs before having vaginal or anal intercourse.
Treatment Options for STDs
Diagnosing an STD is just the beginning. You also need to get the right treatment to prevent health complications.
Bacterial infections: STDs that are caused by bacterial or parasitic infections are usually treated with antibiotics. This can work for diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia.
Be sure to take the full dose of medication for as long as prescribed. You will also need to abstain from sex until your treatment is over.
Viral infections: STDs that are caused by viruses (like HPV and HIV) are harder to treat. In many cases, a viral STD is never “cured”, but it can be managed with antiviral drugs.
For instance, today there are about two-dozen FDA-approved medications for HIV. Sometimes multiple drugs are used together in a kind of “cocktail”. According to WebMD, these drugs work to control the growth of the virus, improve the immune system, slow/stop symptoms, and help prevent transmission to others.
Where to Get Tested For STDs
Now that you understand the importance of STD diagnosis and STD treatment, it's time to go get tested. You can always go to your primary care doctor. Be sure to check your insurance, as some plans may cover all or part of the cost. You can also visit Advance ER for confidential STD testing and treatment.
Note that STD testing is always private and your results can never be shared without your permission.
Get Diagnosed and Get Treated
STDs are a growing concern, threatening the health of millions around the country. Know where to get tested for STDs and then make sure you seek treatment. Taking these steps will help ensure your health and that of your partners.
Advance ER offers expert care for the community of North Dallas. We are the latest solution to 24-hour medical care, providing high-quality health services, including specialist care, clinical services, concierge level emergency care, and pediatric ER services. Our ER is staffed by board-certified physicians and specialists, and we have a range of state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging equipment. If you are in need of medical care, including STD testing, diagnosing and treatment.