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How Often Should You Get an STD Test?

The CDC has reported that STDs have reached an all-time high, increasing for the sixth-straight year. Are you getting tested for STDs on a regular basis?

IHD Lab STD Testing

As you will read below, regular STD testing for people who are sexually active is critical in preventing infection and is something you should do. It's important to know your STD status, and to get tested if you think you might be at risk.

Depending on your age and sexual activity level, the frequency of STD testing can vary. On average, though, you should get tested for STDs once per year. If you have had an STD in the past, you should get tested every three months.

Continue reading for more information about the impact of sexually transmitted diseases and STD tests and guidelines.

Why is STD Testing Important for Your Health?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — are usually received by sexual contact. The bacteria, viruses or parasites that cause STDs may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids.

Some STDs, if not treated, can impact your short- and long-term health. There is also a possibility for STDs to get passed down to your child if you are a pregnant woman. Implementing consistent STD testing is an important way to help prevent infections and the spread of STDs.

IHD Lab At-home STI Testing

Risk Factors of STDs

You are more likely to acquire an STD if you:

  • Have unprotected sex via vaginal or anal penetration, through oral sex, or with improper and inconsistent use of condoms.

  • Have sexual contact with multiple partners.

  • Have a history of STDs (having one STD makes it much easier for another one to take hold).

  • Are sexually assaulted. Although it is highly uncomfortable for most survivors, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive screening, treatment and support.

  • Are injecting drugs. Needle sharing spreads many serious infections, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

  • Are between the ages of 15 to 24, as it is easier for this age group to become infected with more recent types of STDs, such as Mycoplasma genitalium, Neisseria meningitidis, Shigella flexneri, Lymphogranuloma venereum, Zika virus and Ebola.

Causes of STDs

STDs or STIs can be caused by:

  • Bacteria - Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia are examples of STIs that are caused by bacteria.

  • Parasites - Trichomoniasis is an STI caused by a parasite.

  • Viruses - STIs caused by viruses include HPV, genital herpes and HIV.

  • Other kinds of infections - Hepatitis A, B and C viruses, shigella infection and giardia infection — can be spread through sexual activity, but it's possible to be infected without sexual contact.

Do STDs Impact Fertility?

Sexually transmitted diseases can directly or indirectly cause infertility in women and in men.

IHD Lab STDs Impact Fertility

When left untreated, STD infections can develop and lead to infertility in women by moving up the reproductive system and spreading to a woman’s uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This results in damage, scarring or inflammation. The two major causes of STD-related infertility are pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and damage to the fallopian tubes.

For men, STD infections can damage the epididymis and urethra, leading to fertility problems. The epididymis is the long tube that transports sperm from the testes and the urethra is the tube that transports urine and semen out of the body.

It is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of STDs, particularly for women who may be pregnant or for people who are trying to conceive, so they can seek immediate treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of STDs

STDs don't always have symptoms. It is possible to contract sexually transmitted diseases from people who seem perfectly healthy, and who may not even know they have an infection.

Signs and symptoms that might indicate an STD include:

  • Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area

  • Painful or burning urination

  • Discharge from the penis

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge

  • Pain during sex

  • Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread

IHD Lab At-home STD testing

How to Not Contract an STD

Although taking preventative measures to avoid contracting an STD are not always guaranteed to protect you, there are a variety of ways to ensure that you stay sexually healthy.

Be sure to use protection, such as condoms, during sexual intercourse and consistently take STD tests. Also, it is important to stay honest with your sexual partner or partners about practicing safe sex.

Using At-Home STD Testing to Ensure Safety

While a variety of factors, including your age, sexual behaviors and risk factors, guide how often you should test for STDs, having access to diagnostic tests is equally important to try and keep you as safe and healthy as possible.

At-home testing is gaining in popularity as an accurate and convenient healthcare option - while also allowing for a more private and discreet process in this particular area of healthcare. At-home STD tests can also prevent patients from attending an unnecessary doctor’s office visit. When using a reliable and credible at-home STD testing provider, patients have access to prompt test results allowing those with positive results to take swift action with next steps. If you do happen to test positive for an STD, you should see a doctor for treatment and further guidance.

At-Home STD Testing with Innovative Health Diagnostics

The easiest way to take a regular STD test is by investing in an at-home test, which you can order from Innovative Health Diagnostics (IHDLab). The IHD team offers a range of at-home STD tests, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis or HPV.

IHD processes over 6 million tests per year and has capabilities to produce test results between 24 to 72 hours delivery time from its CLIA-FDA-accredited laboratories.

Contact us today for more information and to order your at-home STD tests.


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