STDs and Relationships: What You Need to Know

There’s a lot of stigma that surrounds STDs. Jokes about STDs are often used to belittle someone who is sexually active or has had multiple partners, when the reality of the situation is that STDs and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are very common amongst all adults who are sexually active (with about 110 million sexually transmitted infections in the U.S.) and are just as easily contracted by someone who has had many sexual partners as someone who has had very few. It only takes one sexual encounter to contract an STD or STI, and it’s also possible to be safe and avoid contraction throughout numerous encounters.

With any luck, the discussion of STDs and STIs and the people who have them is shifting. You can help shift the conversation about STDs and relationships by being proactive with your partner(s) regarding your sexual health history and encouraging them to do the same. It can be a stress-inducing conversation, but it’s still an important one to have. Avoiding the topic with your partner, whether you have an STD or not, doesn’t get either of you anywhere. In the end, you’ll both be better for talking about it, and it’s still possible to have a happy, healthy relationship, whether you’re someone or with someone who has or has had an STD or STI.

Why You Should Talk to Your Partner About STDs and Relationships Before Being Sexually Active

If you were about to enter into a sexual relationship with someone who had an STD or STI, you’d want them to tell you, wouldn’t you? You don’t have to disclose it on the first date, but before you are sexually active with someone, you should have a conversation about STDs and the very real possibility one or both of you has contracted one.

If you have an STD, whether it’s treatable or not, you should disclose that information with your partner. Not only is it the right thing to do, in some states, not telling a partner about a confirmed STD diagnosis is a criminal offense. You also have no way of knowing how the STD might affect their health; don’t assume their symptoms will be mild, or that they won’t show symptoms, based on how the STD manifests in your own body. It’s always better to be open and honest with your partner and let them make informed decisions about their own sexual health.

If you have a curable STD or STI, regardless of whether or not you’re currently undergoing treatment for it, you should discuss that with your prospective partners. Even if you’ve begun treatment and your symptoms (if they were present) have subsided, if you haven’t completed the course of treatment, the STD or STI could still be communicable to a partner. If you’ve recently completed treatment, you should get tested again to ensure the treatment effectively rid you of the infection before being sexually active again.

While, again, STDs and relationships might not be the best subject to raise on a first date, you don’t want to wait too long, either. Timing the conversation right can be an obstacle for many. You don’t want to be presumptuous about when—or if—you and your new partner are going to have sex, but you don’t want to wait until it’s happening (or afterward) to ask them about their history of sexually transmitted infections or disclose yours.

Again, if you have an incurable STD or are currently undergoing treatment for a curable STD, you should disclose that information with your partner before you are sexually active, but, at the same time, don’t expect your new partner to disclose that information to you without being prompted. It can be a scary subject to introduce regardless of which side you’re coming from, but it should be a conversation between the both of you. If it’s not a subject you feel comfortable talking about with your partner, you may need to consider why and if you’re actually ready to begin a sexual relationship with this person.

You also can’t expect your partner to disclose their sexual health status to you, because you can’t expect your partner to know for sure whether they have an STD or not. Not everyone gets tested regularly, and not everyone gets tested for everything. You can’t rely on them to be honest with you about whether they have an STD or not if they’re not even sure themselves.

The best course of action, especially if either of you aren’t sure if you have any STDs, or if you haven’t been tested since ending your most recent sexual relationships, you should both get tested before you begin a new one. Not only is getting tested regularly an important part of being a sexually active adult, it’s important for both of you to know what you’re agreeing to by entering into a sexual relationship. It’s also important to consider when you were both sexually active. Every STD has what’s referred to as an “incubation period” during which the person has contracted the STD, but it hasn’t developed enough to cause a positive test result. Every STD and every infection differs, but generally it’s advised that you get tested three months after your last sexual encounter to ensure the most accurate results.

How to Tell Your Partner You Have an STD

If you already have an incurable STD, you should know that it’s still possible to have a happy, healthy relationship with someone—and it’s important that your partner understands that, too. They should also understand the risks and necessary precautions you need to take if you both decide to be sexually active, which is why you should be open about your status with them before that happens. It’s best to be as honest with them as possible. Make sure that you’re informed and prepared to answer any questions they might have about your STD.

After telling your partner you have an STD, recognize that they might not react well at first, but that you’ve done the right thing by disclosing that information, and they ultimately get to decide what choices they make regarding their body and sexual health. They may overreact, be shocked or surprised, or act completely nonplussed. They might even be grateful—maybe they have an STD and were waiting for the right time to tell you, too. They could react negatively, and that is in no way a reflection of you, nor are you at fault for disclosing the information. You’re not responsible for how they react to the information, but you are responsible for divulging it.

Understand that your partner might not know how to react at first, and they may need time to come to a decision on whether or not they’re still interested in pursuing a sexual relationship. With most incurable STDs, there are still ways to practice safer sex, and if your partner isn’t comfortable with that, there are still other ways you can be intimate with each other. The most important thing is that you’ve told them, and you can both decide if and how you’re going to move forward.

If you have an incurable STD and are worried about facing difficulty finding a sexual partner who is accepting of you and your health status, or would feel more comfortable being in a relationship with someone who is also STD positive, there are several dating sites and groups, both online and offline, that cater to people with STDs and relationships. Many organize mixers and event nights for members where you can meet other people who are STD positive. These communities can help you and other people with STDs feel more comfortable knowing you’re not alone in your sexual health status and how commonly people find themselves in the same position.

Not only are these outlets sources of support, they offer opportunities for friendship and romance with others who understand your infection and the possible judgement you’ve faced from friends or other romantic prospects. This can especially be an important resource if you’ve recently been diagnosed with an incurable STD or STI. No matter the severity of your infection or disease, these sites and groups can provide you with the opportunity to talk with others who have lived with the infection for longer and can share valuable perspective and advice for dealing with STDs and relationships, including dating someone who is or isn’t STD positive.

When Your Partner Has an STD

If you have yet to be sexually active with your partner and they reveal they have an STD, the most important thing is to not judge them or base your decision as to whether you want to proceed with your relationship solely on their sexual health status. As we mentioned, STDs and STIs are extremely common amongst sexually active adults, and having an STD or STI is in no way indicative of them as a person or sexual partner.

Finding out your partner has a sexually transmitted disease or infection can be difficult—especially if you’re in an established relationship with them when it happens. Again, if you find out your partner has an STD while you are currently in a relationship with them, it’s important to not judge or jump to any conclusions about where they could have contracted the infection. It’s even possible that you might have given them the infection—maybe the STD was asymptomatic in you, but the presentation of related symptoms in your partner caused them to question their STD infection status. Regardless of how they, or you, contracted the STD, the important takeaway is to work through the situation with your partner without making rash accusations.

If you find out that your partner has an STD after you’ve begun a sexual relationship, the first thing you should do is get tested and develop the best course of action from there. Getting tested lets you know for sure whether you’ve contracted the infection. You should both know the facts about your infection so you can best decide how to move forward after that.

Is It Possible to Get an STD in a Monogamous Relationship?

If you discover that you have an STD while you’re already in a committed, monogamous relationship, don’t automatically assume that your partner has cheated on you—and they shouldn’t assume the same for you. It’s possible that one of you contracted the STD before you were in the relationship, especially if either you or your partner weren’t tested before you became sexually active with each other. It’s possible also that they got tested, but weren’t screened for the specific infection they have. And, with so many STDs and STIs being asymptomatic, it’s possible they didn’t think they had an infection or needed to get tested before becoming sexually active with someone, especially if you didn’t have a conversation about STDs and STIs or getting tested before you were sexually active with each other.

Sometimes different people can have different ideas about what acts define a sexual relationship, so even if your partner considers their relationship with you to be the first sexual relationship they’ve had, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have contracted an STD though some other kind of sexual activity (for example, oral sex or other forms of outercourse) before beginning a relationship with you.

Even if you and/or your partner were tested before being sexually active with each other, it’s possible that the test didn’t include the specific STD you’ve contracted, as most people only get tested for a few of the most common STDs, or that the test returned a false negative result, depending on when the testing occurred in relation to exposure to the STD.

However, despite these contingencies, if you contracted an STD and have reason to suspect it could be the result of your own infidelity, you should be honest with your partner(s) about that, too. Even if you contract a curable STD while in a relationship, you should still tell your partner so that you can both be tested and treated for it. If not, you risk reinfection after you’ve completed treatment. The most important thing is that you’re honest with your partner and you can both seek treatment as soon as possible.

Should You Still Use Protection in a Relationship?

Using a condom, whether it’s external or internal, helps keep you protected from a variety of STDs. However, for any number of reasons, a couple might decide to discontinue, occasionally or permanently, their use of condoms. Not using a condom has traditionally been thought of as a way to feel closer with your partner, whether it’s emotionally, physically, or both. It can demonstrate trust between partners. And, sometimes, it’s just not convenient to use a condom. Regardless of your reasons, if you decide to stop using condoms, there are some precautions to take first.

If you’re a person who is at risk of and trying to prevent pregnancy and you’ve been relying on condoms as your only form of contraception, you’ll want to explore other forms of birth control before you stop using condoms. Regardless of what form of alternative contraception you choose, it’s important to take time to weigh your options and decide which is best for you. You should also be aware that some forms of contraception—like the pill—aren’t effective immediately, so you shouldn’t stop using condoms until you know your other form of contraception is fully functional.

If you are going to discontinue condom use with your partner, it’s also a good idea to be in a committed, monogamous relationship with them first in order to diminish the chance of either of you contracting an STD from an outside partner. If you’re not in a monogamous relationship, make sure that you and your primary partner are clear about your sexual practices with any outside partners. Understand, especially if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, that a condom or dental dam does not prevent exposure to every STD. There are several STDs that can be transmitted from one person to another regardless of condom use, including syphilis, HPV, herpes and trichomoniasis, among others.

If you haven’t been tested recently, you might want to both get tested again before you stop using condoms, just to be sure of both of your statuses. Even if you were tested before you entered into the relationship, as stated above, it’s possible you weren’t tested for everything, or that your test returned a false negative result for some reason. The best way to avoid future confusion or accusations is to know everything you both do or do not have.

Lastly, if you and your partner are going to stop using condoms, make sure it’s a mutual decision. It’s a decision that affects both of you, so make sure it’s a decision you both want to make. Don’t let your partner pressure you into discontinuing the use of protection. It’s there to protect both of you.

At Priority STD Testing, we encourage everyone who is sexually active to make the right choices for their sexual health and the health of others. For more information about STD testing, including couples testing options, contact Priority STD Testing today.

Is Free STD Testing Right for You?

Free STD testing may sound good in theory, but there are a few pitfalls in practice that you as a patient need to be aware of. There are options for free STD testing nearby and available to you, either from your local city or county clinic to locations that are run and funded by nonprofit organizations. Though these free STD testing opportunities can be a good resource, the experience can often be frustrating and embarrassing for some people.

Long Waits To Get Tested

Because so many people are looking to find cheap or free STD testing, you’ll likely not be the only one waiting to get tested. Free STD testing clinics have notoriously long wait times, which means you could be sitting in a waiting area wasting your day instead of using your time in a way that’s more productive.

Lack of Privacy

Let’s address one of the biggest issues with free STD testing clinics: lack of privacy. When you stop by your local free STD testing clinic, the purpose of your visit is clear and obvious. Free STD testing locations commonly only offer one service: free STD testing. That means when you stop by one of these clinics, if you’re seen or recognized, your dearly held privacy concerning your sexual health is taken away. Making the choice to get tested is a very personal one, and it’s one that many people would like to keep as private as possible for numerous reasons.

Potentially Awkward Test Visits

When you’re seen at a free clinic or other free STD testing location, you’ll often be seen by a medical professional or member of the staff who will run through a series of awkward or uncomfortable questions in an effort to collect data that is analyzed and used by state or local health departments. How many sexual partners have you had? What kinds of sex do you engage in? Do you engage in sex with members of the same sex, opposite sex, or both? Have you had a recent sexual encounter that you are concerned about? These are just a few of the potentially questions you may be asked at a free STD test location before you receive testing.

Long Waits to Receive Your Results

Free STD testing clinics don’t have the lab partnerships that other STD testing providers have. While the test itself may be free for you, there is no additional incentive to process your test results quickly so that you can ease your mind. Your test will be one in a large batch to be processed, remembering also that with as many people who seek out the free STD testing option, there will be that many more tests for them to process and send to the lab, including yours.

Not Necessarily Free

The term “free STD testing” isn’t always what it seems. Though there are some nonprofits that fund their ability to provide free STD testing through the money they raise or grants they receive, some actually require a donation from you. Some may advertise that they offer free STD testing, but it’s likely that testing doesn’t cover all of the most common STDs and might only test for specific STDs at no cost to you. Bottom line: Be sure to do your research as to what “free” really means.

Awkward Test Visits

Clinics that offer free STD testing often are not using the most up-to-date testing methods available to medical professionals. It used to be that, for certain STD tests, namely bacterial infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis, that you had to offer a swab sample. These swab tests can often be quite painful, and sadly many clinics are still using them out of cost necessity or just habit. Modern testing methods have nearly eliminated the need for these painful swab tests. Do your own body a favor and find a location where you don’t have to worry about the unnecessary and potentially painful swab method.

Not All STDs May Be Covered

Free STD testing doesn’t always include testing for every STD it’s possible you could have contracted. The incentive to offer free STD testing for government health programs and nonprofits is to help reduce the number of infections from STDs that have potentially life threatening or serious health consequences. That’s why it’s much more common to find free STD testing clinics that only offer free HIV testing for example. As HIV is an infection that poses a great health risk to the general population, it’s considered to be cost effective to get more people tested by offering free STD testing. It’s far less common to see free STD testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, or especially herpes.

Less Reliable Tests

Your health is important, and you should be accessing only the best tools in order to help you protect it. Some clinics that offer free STD testing are using cheaper and older generation STD tests in order to save on costs. However, as technologies improve, so do the accuracy rates of results. Using an older STD test means a higher risk of your results being inaccurate. While free STD testing may seem more cost effective at first, an inaccurate result could cost you more than the money you saved on the initial free STD testing. We encourage everyone to invest wisely when it comes to your sexual health.

As STD testing professionals, at Priority STD Testing, we understand why patients might seek out lower cost or free STD testing options. We encourage everyone who is sexually active to have all the information necessary to make the right choice for their sexual health and their STD testing needs available to them. Weighing the pros and cons of free STD testing options should be part of that consideration, and Priority STD Testing strives to be a trusted partner in your sexual health. For more information about specific STDs and the STD tests available to you, visit our STD symptoms or STD Tests and Pricing pages.

What Is Trichomonal Vaginitis?

Anyone who is sexually active needs to be concerned about sexually transmitted infections. There is a range of different STIs that can cause a variety of problems. Some can be treated with a quick course of antibiotics, while others are with you for life. You may be lucky to get away with no lasting effects, or there could be long-lasting consequences. Some show symptoms, while others may not cause any at all. It’s important to be aware of different infections, their symptoms, and how they’re diagnosed. If you’re knowledgeable, it encourages you to be safer and to get tested when you need to. Trichomonal vaginitis, or trichomoniasis, is a common STI that you should be aware of.


What Is Trichomonal Vaginitis?


Trichomonal Vaginitis is more commonly referred to as trichomoniasis or just trich. It is one of the most common STIs. It’s the most common curable sexually transmitted infection for young women in the US. Trichomoniasis is caused by a small parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. While the word “parasite” sounds horrifying, it isn’t large enough for you to see. When trichomoniasis displays symptoms, they usually occur in the first month. However, there could be as many as 50 percent of cases which do not exhibit symptoms. Some sources even say that up to 70 percent of people don’t experience symptoms. The symptoms are often similar to other STIs. This means that trichomoniasis can occasionally be hard to diagnose.


What Are the Symptoms of Trichomoniasis?


Like many other sexually transmitted infections, trichomoniasis presents differently in men and women. Women are more likely to experience symptoms compared to men. Many men remain asymptomatic. In women, the symptoms can include frothy discharge, which may be green-yellow in color and have a strong odor. Women can also experience pain when urinating and itching or irritation of the vagina. They might feel discomfort during sexual intercourse and, rarely, pain in the lower abdomen. For men, symptoms are usually milder. They might experience burning after urination or ejaculation. They can also get a mild discharge or irritation of the penis.


How Common Is Trichomoniasis?


In the US, it is estimated that about 3.7 million people have trichomoniasis. There are around 1.1 million new infections in the US each year. It is a common infection for younger women. However, older women are actually more likely to have been infected. The rate for women in 2.7 percent, while for men it is 1.4 percent. There are some groups that are at higher risk of infection. These include those engaging in high-risk sexual activities. However, because most people do not experience symptoms, many do not know that they have it. Estimates put new infections in North America at a rate of between 5 and 8 million each year. The World Health Organization estimates that there are about 160 million cases each year, worldwide.


Trichomoniasis Transmission


Trichomoniasis is passed on through unprotected sex. It can sometimes be through using sex toys without a condom. The infection can affect the vagina and urethra in women and usually just the urethra in men. However, men may also be infected in the head of the penis or even the prostate gland. Trichomoniasis is probably not transmitted through oral or anal sex. Other contact such as kissing or hugging isn’t thought to pass it on. You should be safe to share plates or cutlery too. You also don’t need to worry about getting trichomoniasis from a toilet seat.


Trichomoniasis Diagnosis


If you suspect you might have trichomoniasis, you should go to your GP or to a sexual health clinic to get tested. It can be a little difficult to diagnose trich because it can look like other STDs. When you get tested, a doctor will give you a physical exam, as well as sending a sample for a lab test. They will take a sample of vaginal or urethral fluid to be tested, which just involves a simple swab. This will confirm whether the parasite is present. You should get tested for trichomoniasis if you notice any unusual symptoms. It’s also important to get tested for other STIs as they can look the same. If you receive a positive diagnosis, you should let any recent sexual partners know. They should be tested or even treated right away as a precaution.


Trichomoniasis Treatment


Trichomoniasis is usually treated with an oral antibiotic. Most of the time, an antibiotic called metronidazole is used. It can be given to both men and women and is safe for anyone who is or could be pregnant. The course of antibiotics usually lasts between five and seven days. However, you might start with a single dose of antibiotics first. It’s important to complete it, even if the symptoms go away before then. Anyone taking the treatment should also avoid having sex during that time. This is so that they don’t reinfect themselves or their partner. Make sure that anyone else you have recently had sex with also receives the treatment.


As well as ensuring that you take the full course of antibiotics, it’s important not to drink alcohol. Alcohol is best avoided when taking any antibiotics as they can make you vomit. This might mean that the antibiotic isn’t effective. You should also tell your doctor about any other medications you might be taking. They may need to take them into account when giving you a prescription.


Following Up on Treatment


Usually, you don’t need to go back to the doctor after taking antibiotics. However, there are some cases when you should revisit the doctor. These include when you have had unprotected sex before finishing the treatment. Or you may have come in contact with the infection again. You should also return if you vomit while taking the antibiotics, as they may not have had time to work. If you didn’t complete the treatment for any reason, you should go back to the doctor. Sometimes, the symptoms may not go away, and you need further treatment. Alternatively, you might receive a negative diagnosis. But then you may develop signs of the infection.


Consequences of Not Getting Treated


Trichomoniasis won’t go away on its own, so it’s important to get treated. It’s not just the obvious symptoms that can cause problems. There are some complications that can occur if you don’t receive treatment. These complications are rare and mainly affect pregnant women. If you are pregnant, it could cause the premature birth of your baby or a low birth weight. Another issue to keep in mind is that trichomoniasis could increase the risk of HIV infection. If a woman is already infected with HIV, it might also increase the risk of her passing it to a partner. The increased risk of HIV infection is due to inflammation of the genitals.


There are some rare complications that have been noted from trichomonal vaginitis. As well as being present in the urethra and vagina, it has also been found in the fallopian tubes and pelvis. Some of the less common complications include pneumonia, oral lesions, and bronchitis. In men, it may also cause urethritis or prostatitis, infections of the urethra and prostate.


Will Trichomoniasis Go Away without Treatment?


Trichomonal vaginitis can cure itself if left untreated. However, it isn’t that likely, and it could last for months or years without treatment. It could also lead to complications if it isn’t treated. The best thing to do if you suspect you have it is to get tested and treated.


Trichomonal Vaginitis and Pregnancy


As previously mentioned, trichomoniasis can cause some problems if you are pregnant. Evidence suggests that it could cause an early birth or a low birthweight. Another consequence could be that trichomoniasis is passed to the baby during pregnancy. However, this is not common, so it probably isn’t something for you to worry about. If you are pregnant or suspect you might be, it’s important to tell your doctor. It can affect the treatment they choose to give you. The same is true if you are breastfeeding. There isn’t any evidence to suggest that having trichomonal vaginitis will affect your fertility.


Can Trichomoniasis Increase the Risk of Cancer?


As many people know, some STIs such as HPV can increase the risk of cancers like cervical cancer. Research is still unclear about the role that trichomoniasis may play in cancer risks. Currently, it is unlikely that there is an increased risk on its own. However, it may be linked to co-infection of strains of HPV that increase the risk of cervical cancer. For men, asymptomatic prostatitis and urethritis can be caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. This could cause chronic inflammation of the prostate. This may increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, the evidence on these issues is not yet entirely clear.


The Emotional Effect of a Diagnosis


When talking about STDs, people often neglect to mention the emotional side of it. Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection can cause all sorts of feelings. You might feel angry, upset or ashamed. You may be wondering how long you have had the infection and who could have given it to you. Sometimes it might cause you to start thinking about whether a partner has been unfaithful to you. If you are struggling with a diagnosis, it’s a good idea to speak to someone about your feelings. You can talk to someone at the clinic you visit if you find it hard to talk to your friends or partner. If you have a therapist, you might like to discuss the issue with them too.


Telling Partners About Trichomoniasis


If you are diagnosed with trichomoniasis, it’s important to tell anyone you have recently had sexual contact with. This can be uncomfortable, as it may mean talking to people you no longer want to talk to. However, letting them know they may be infected is essential. You don’t have to speak to them directly if you don’t want to. Some clinics may provide you with a slip you can fill in to give to them or send to them. They may also offer to make contact with people for you so that you don’t have to do it yourself.


How to Avoid Getting Trichomoniasis


Like any other sexually transmitted infection, trichomoniasis is best avoided with safe sex. The first thing that you should do is ensure you use condoms when having sex. It’s important not only to use them but to ensure you use them correctly. Make sure you know the correct practice for storing condoms, as well as using them. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of sexual partners you have. However, if you do sleep with multiple people, make sure you always practice safe sex. Try not to go back and forth between partners or stick to having sex with one partner who you know is not infected.


Be careful when deciding to have sex with someone without condoms. If you decide to stop using them with a long-term partner, it’s a good idea for you both to be tested for STIs. If you do think you might be infected, avoid having sex until you have seen a doctor. It’s just as important to avoid giving trichomoniasis to someone else.


Even when you use condoms, there is a chance of being infected or infecting your partner. The only way to be entirely sure that you can’t get it is to avoid having sex. However, if you do choose to have sex, you need to do so responsibly and safely. It’s a good idea to talk to sexual partners about sexual health and how to protect each other. It’s healthy to have an open discussion about STIs. You should also talk about preventing pregnancy. Even when having casual sex, you can still ensure that you are both on the same page about protection.
Trichomonal vaginitis is not a pleasant infection, especially when it causes symptoms. Even when it is asymptomatic, it could cause problems. If you suspect you might have it, it’s important to see a doctor to receive a diagnosis and treatment.

Should I Ask For an STD Test Before Sex?

Many people have different views and opinions on asking for an STD test before sex. However, there’s only one real answer to the question, ‘should I ask for an STD test before sex?’. 99% of the time, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’. Here, we’ll discuss a number of different situations. We’ll also discuss when you should ideally get tested, and when you may not need to worry so much. The important thing to remember is that STD’s are easily spread, and you don’t always know that you have them. Neither does your partner. If they haven’t been tested for a while but they’ve been sexually active, there’s a good chance they’ve picked something up. STDs don’t always come with symptoms. The sooner you are checked out and treated, the better. Read on to learn more:

More About STDs

STDs diagnoses are on the rise. A large number of people are at risk of contracting some of the more common STDs, such as Chlamydia. However, many are still at risk of contracting more serious STDs, such as HIV. Although treating most STDs can be fairly simple, having them for a long time can cause problems with things like pregnancy and fertility. It isn’t just young, carefree people who are at risk either, despite popular belief. Older people are also at risk, particularly those who are going through difficult things, such as divorce. Maybe you decided to throw caution to the wind and take a risk. Studies show that there are around 20 million new STDs in the U.S. each year. This makes it crucial to be smart and take care of your sexual health more vigilantly than ever. The only time you likely won’t need to get tested or to ask your partner to get tested, is if you’re both virgins. That being said, some STDs can be spread without having full, penetrative sex. You could still have contracted an STD if you’re a technical ‘virgin’.  Knowing the facts will leave you better equipped to know when to get tested and when you are safe.

If You’ve Never Been Tested

If you’ve been having sex but you’ve never been tested, you should definitely get tested for STDs ASAP. Condoms can prevent many STDs, but other forms of contraception do not. If the condom broke, or you experienced any other issues, this is another reason to get checked out. You may have picked something up without knowing it. Getting tested for an STD could potentially save your life, as the longer you have something, the more dangerous it tends to be. Most STDs can be cured with medication, but even for those that can’t, there are things that can help you to manage it.

The earlier you find out and treat an STD, the less long term damage it’ll cause. Some untreated STDs can cause serious problems, such as infertility, and even cancer. It doesn’t matter if it happened some time ago; you should still get checked out if you never have been. Even if you don’t have symptoms now, you may develop them in the future. You will still pass the STD on to others without symptoms, too.

Even if you have no plans to have sex anytime soon, getting checked is important for your own health and well-being. If you are sexually active, it’s equally as important.

When you decide to get tested, make sure you discuss everything in as much detail as possible with a doctor or sexual health professional. Answer their questions to the best of your ability. You should know what tests you are having and what they look for, too. Don’t automatically assume that you are being tested for everything. A general checkup won’t usually detect STDs.

If You Have A New Partner

If you have a new partner or meet a potential new partner, thinking about STD testing is crucial. If you want to begin having sex right away, you should use condoms. You should only stop using condoms when you know for sure that you’re both free of STDs. Better yet, you should wait until you have both been checked and cleared before having sex at all. The only way to be 100% sure that you are both safe, is to get tested. Staying safe emotionally and physically is important. STDs can affect you emotionally, as well as physically. Using a condom is crucial each time you have sex with a new person. Even if you know you’re in the clear, the other person may not be. You are both at risk of passing something back and forth if you fail to use protection.

But how do you ask your new partner to get tested, without offending them or ruining what you have? Many people wonder this, and find it can be tricky. You must remember that this request is perfectly reasonable and very sensible. When you sleep with a new person, you are in theory sleeping with all of their past partners too. Even with that in mind, it’s easy for a partner to misinterpret what you’re trying to say when you tell them that you want them to get checked out. They may get offended if you don’t word things carefully. You don’t want it to seem like you’re attacking them, or insinuating that they’ve been sleeping around. You could start by telling them that you want to reassure them about yourself, and that you’ve been tested and given a clean bill of health (only if you have been, of course). Hopefully, they’ll take this a cue to offer to get tested, or show you that they have been already. If you don’t feel like you’re close enough to bring this up right now, ensure you always use a condom if you must have sex. If this person is good for you, then they should respect your wishes. Remember, your sexual health is so much more important than feeling embarrassed for a little while. Bad choices regarding sex can follow you around forever.

You need to remember that this has nothing to do with just ‘trusting’ a person. If they try to get at you emotionally by asking you why you don’t trust them, you should walk away. If they are unwilling to get tested, they obviously don’t care about your well-being, or their own. This is a sign that they are either too immature to have sex, or they’re no good for you.

If You’ve Been Contacted With News

In the event that a partner gets tested after they’ve slept with you, you may be contacted with news of an STD. Usually, you will give the names of the people you may have passed an STD on to when you test positive, and you will be contacted so you can go and get tested yourself. It doesn’t automatically mean that you have an STD, but there’s a chance if you didn’t use protection or something went wrong. Going to get tested ASAP is crucial. If you’ve slept with anybody since the person in question, you’ll need to contact them so they can get tested too. You may be able to give names and numbers to your doctor/clinic and they may contact the person/people for you. It’s so important that you’re honest in an event such as this, as you may be putting other people’s health at risk.

Potential Symptoms Of an STD

Although you may not necessarily experience symptoms that indicate you have a problem, there’s a chance you will. The symptoms can come on at any time. It may even take months for you to experience symptoms. Just because you haven’t experience symptoms yet, doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s a sign that there is something wrong. You should get checked out ASAP:

  • Bleeding either during or after sex.
  • A rash.
  • Itching.
  • Blisters or sores on the genital area.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Pain when going to the toilet.
  • Strange discharge from the penis or vagina.
  • A strange smell.

These symptoms could potentially be due to something else, but you won’t know if you don’t get tested.

When You’ve Been Given A Clean Bill Of Health

When you’ve received treatment for an STD, you will need to be tested again to ensure that the treatment has been effective. When you’ve been given a clean bill of health, it’s crucial that you take preventive measures so that nothing like this happens in the future.

Safe Sex Every Time

Practice safe sex each and every time you have sex. Learn from the past or past scares and don’t leave things to chance.

Don’t Be Embarrassed

Don’t be embarrassed to request that your partner get tested. If you feel confident enough to have sex with them, you should feel confident enough to ask them to get tested. Don’t be embarrassed when it comes to having your own tests either. Sexual health professionals have seen it all before, and likely much worse!

Regular Tests

If you’re sexually active, it’s crucial that you have regular tests. The people you sleep with is entirely your choice. You don’t have to explain yourself, ever. As long as you’re mentally healthy, you should be able to do whatever makes you happy. However, taking regular tests is the only smart thing to do. Having multiple partners is your prerogative, but that gives you even more reason to have regular tests. This will give you peace of mind.

Have Sex Only Within A Monogamous Relationship

Having sex only within a monogamous relationship greatly reduces your risk of getting an STD. When you’ve both been given the all clear, only having sex with one another is a great way to avoid introducing new STDs into the relationship. However, you should be honest with yourself as to whether the relationship is truly monogamous. Do you know that your partner is committed to you and only you? If you have a bad feeling, it could be a good idea to get tested again yourself, and perhaps speak with them about your concerns. Bear in mind that becoming suspicious of them for no particular reason could indicate that you have your own issues to work through.

Look To The Future

Be honest with yourself about what you plan to do when you go out with friends, for instance, How far are you willing to go? What do you feel comfortable with? This can help you to stay on track. You could even tell friends, or write it on your hand to ensure you stick to your plan. Whatever your plans are, staying prepared is important. Keeping condoms on you and at your place is a good precaution to take. You can’t always expect the other person to have them.

Steer Clear Of Drink And Drugs

Drink and drugs can seriously lower inhibitions and make you do things that you wouldn’t usually do. They can also leave you susceptible to sexual assault. Although this is never your fault, it only makes sense to control what you put into your body so you can be aware of what is going on around you. It’s all too easy to drink too much. Make sure you know your limits and have a soft drink or water in between each alcoholic drink to ensure you don’t get too drunk. Avoiding any kind of drug is always a good idea!

Never Feel Pressured

You should never feel pressured to do anything with a person if you don’t want to. You’re under no obligation to do anything with anybody, no matter how long you’ve been seeing them. Get comfortable with saying no. Make sure you’re firm about it too.
STD testing needs to become the norm if we’re all going to crackdown on new sexual diseases. Taking our sexual health seriously is the first step to doing this. You might be scared to ask or even go through with it, but nothing is scarier than having to deal with an incurable STD for the rest of your life.

How Hard Is It To Contract HIV?

If you’re wondering how hard is it to contract HIV, chances are it’s because of the many misconceptions surrounding HIV. There are lots of myths people fall for, which can be difficult to dispel. Many people don’t learn about HIV and AIDS in school. Even those who do learn about it often forget what they’ve learned or aren’t taught much. One of the things many people have misunderstandings about is how HIV is transmitted. Many people believe that it can be transmitted through kissing or touching. Understanding HIV and AIDS and how hard is it to contract HIV is important for a number of reasons. It’s essential for people to look after their own sexual health as well as reduce the stigma surrounding how to contract HIV.

What Is HIV?

Before asking yourself how hard is it to contract HIV, it’s a good idea to understand just what HIV is. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. The virus attacks the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off illness. Although there is currently no cure for HIV, treatments for it are improving all the time. With the right medication and lifestyle, people who are HIV positive can still have a long life. However, there are still health issues and side effects that HIV positive people have to deal with. HIV is one of the most serious sexually transmitted diseases because there is no cure and it can be deadly if it progresses to AIDS.

What’s the Difference Between HIV and AIDS?

There is often a lot of confusion over the difference between HIV and AIDS. People often use the terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. People who have AIDS are HIV positive, but not everyone who has HIV has AIDS. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of HIV infection, after it has progressed for many years. Rather than being a separate disease, AIDS is when a person can no longer fight off infections. If a person’s CD4 count (white T-helper blood cells) is below 200, they receive an AIDS diagnosis.

How HIV Is Contracted

To contract HIV, bodily fluids, such as blood, breast milk and sexual excretions, must be exchanged. However, it cannot be contracted through sweat or urine. The chances of infection through saliva are very low. The most common way HIV is contracted is through sexual intercourse without a condom. Other ways include transmission from mother to child through breastfeeding or during pregnancy. It can also be transmitted through sharing needles or other drug paraphernalia. There is more than one type of HIV, so it’s important for even HIV positive people to remember that they have a risk of reinfection. However, it’s also important to remember that the virus is not very stable. It cannot survive long outside of the body; only a few seconds, in fact.

How Hard Is It to Contract HIV From…?

Many people have questions about scenarios they have heard could lead to HIV transmission. For example, a lot of people are told at some point that you can get HIV from using a toilet seat. In reality, the likelihood of that happening is so minuscule, it isn’t worth considering. For HIV to be transmitted in that manner, two people who both had open wounds that made contact with the toilet seat would have to use the same seat seconds after each other. Even then, the chances of infection would still be small. A slightly more realistic way that people worry about contracting HIV is through kissing. However, it’s still only a tiny bit more realistic. A person would again have to have open sores in their mouth, and it would take a lot of saliva to transmit the virus.

Most people are unlikely to have to worry about how hard is it to contract HIV during their day-to-day lives. You won’t accidentally contract it from sharing a glass with someone. You won’t get it from touching someone in a non-sexual manner, unless you both have open wounds. Before believing anything you hear about how hard is it to contract HIV, it’s always best to research. You can quickly dispel some common myths by Googling them.

How Hard Is It to Contract HIV Through Different Sexual Acts?

Sexual intercourse without a condom is the most common way to contract HIV. You may have heard things about different risks for different sexual acts. Some acts do present a lower risk of infection, such as oral sex or using sex toys. For example, there is about a 1 in 5,000 chance of getting HIV if you have oral sex with someone who is positive. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t practice safe sex at all times. Although the risk of infection might sometimes be lower, it is still present. It’s important to remember that some acts are riskier than others too. Statistically, anal sex has the highest risk of infection – between 0.11% and 1.43%.

Although the numbers might be lower than you thought, they shouldn’t be used as a way to negate safe sex. The safest thing to do is always to use protection and be as safe as possible. The risk might be low, but it’s even lower if you use a condom and other barriers, such as latex gloves or dental dams.

Are Some Groups at Higher Risk Than Others?

Another thing to consider when thinking about how hard is it to contract HIV is that some people can have a higher risk of infection than others. Keep in mind that sex is not the only way that HIV is transmitted. There are some lifestyles or professions that might mean someone is at a higher risk of transmission. For example, drug users who share needles with others have a higher risk of contracting HIV. People who work in medical professions are often in high-risk scenarios as there is a risk of transmission when dealing with bodily fluids and sharp objects. Regarding sexual activity, those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners are engaging in risky behavior. Some groups have higher rates of infection than others. For example, in the UK, the two groups with the highest HIV rates are gay and bisexual men and black men.

HIV Transmission Rates

In the abstract, the risk of transmitting HIV can seem very low. It is often less than 1-2 percent per sex act. However, when looking at actual transmission rates, things can look different. For example, researchers have suggested that about half of young gay men in the US will be HIV positive by the time they are 50. In the UK, about 1 in every 620 people have HIV, including around 17 percent who don’t know it. It’s important to consider factors that can make HIV transmission more or less likely. For example, six to 12 weeks after contracting the virus, there is a higher viral load. This can make someone much more infectious. If someone has another STD or STI, the risk of HIV infection is also increased.

How Hard Is It to Contract HIV for Drug Users?

After sex without a condom, sharing needles is the second most common way of getting HIV in many places. People who inject drugs may use a needle or syringe. On average, the risk of HIV transmission from sharing a needle once with an HIV positive person is 0.67%. However, there are factors that can make the actual risk higher, as above. There are several reasons that many drug users share needles. The criminalization of drug use and marginalization of users is one factor. Many places have needle and syringe programs to make clean needles available. However, they are not always accessible.

What About Blood or Breast Milk?

HIV is sometimes passed on from mother to child during pregnancy. It can also happen during birth or when breastfeeding. However, the risk of this can be reduced, providing that the mother has received a diagnosis. Pregnant women who take HIV medication can reduce the risk of infecting their child. They may also have a C-section instead of a natural birth. HIV medication is also given to babies for several weeks after birth. In countries where safe drinking water is accessible, formula milk is recommended.

There are also other ways HIV could be contracted through contact with positive blood. These include health workers accidentally being exposed to infected fluids and blood transfusions. However, both of these are very unlikely, especially in developed countries. There are some countries where the risk of infection from a blood transfusion is higher; for example, some countries in Africa or the former Soviet Union.

HIV Around the World

Of course, HIV is a global problem. The risk of infecting HIV is very different in many developing countries, for a number of reasons. Women are much more at risk in developing countries such as India or Tanzania. In fact, 80 percent of all young women with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. There are many issues that contribute to the rates of HIV in these countries. For women, things like domestic violence and access to health care must be considered. Rape and intimate partner violence increase the risk of HIV infection. Research has revealed societal issues that contribute. For example, abusive husbands in India are more likely to be infected with HIV. In Tanzania, men are encouraged to have unprotected sex outside of their marriage.

Many women face barriers to health care access. This can mean a lack of sexual health education and services. This means they are unable to reduce their risk of infection. They also may not be diagnosed for a long time, if at all. Sometimes, when health care services are available, providers are not always able to provide help.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Contracting HIV?

Ultimately, you shouldn’t try to gauge your own risk of contracting HIV. The best thing to do is to assume that you always have a chance of contracting it when engaging in risky behavior. When it comes to sex, the best way to prevent HIV infection is to always use a condom. Not only should you use them every time, but you should use them properly, too. This may seem simple, but there are some important rules to follow. For example, no one should use a condom that has been in their wallet for the last year. It’s important to use condoms as instructed and handle them with care. Taking one out of its packet with long fingernails isn’t a good idea. You might also choose to use internal condoms, dental dams or gloves for protection.

There are other risks to manage, aside from having sex. Anyone who injects drugs should be sure to use clean equipment and never share with anyone else. Seeking out needle programs and other services makes this easier to do. Although it is an unlikely method of transmission, people in health care professions should be careful. They should ensure they have adequate training and knowledge. Health and safety in the workplace should involve methods for managing sharps and fluids.

What Are PrEP and PEP?

PrEP and PEP are medications that can help prevent HIV infection. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is recommended for people engaging in behavior that increases their risk of infection. They include serodiscordant couples in which a HIV negative person is in a relationship with someone with HIV. It may also be recommended for those who have sex with multiple partners without condoms. People who have shared needles recently can benefit from it, too.

PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis and can help to prevent infection after exposure. Both PrEP and PEP can reduce the risk of HIV infection significantly. PrEP can reduce the risk of infection by more than 90 percent if taken consistently. PEP is an emergency medication and is most effective when taken as soon as possible. A course of PEP should be started within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure.

How hard is it to contract HIV depends on a wide range of factors. It is impossible to calculate an individual’s chances of contracting HIV. However, they may fall into certain at-risk groups. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid risky behaviors.

How Common are STDs in the US?

Studies show that STDs are still being spread at an alarming rate all over the world. But how common are STDs in the US?

How Common are STDs in the US?

  • There are 20 million new STDs each year.
  • There are 110 million STDs in total among men and women.
  • About 50.5 million of infections are in men.
  • About 59.5 million are in women.
  • 50% of new infections occur in people aged 15-24.
  • More than half of all people in the US will have an STD in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 2 sexualy active people will have contracted an STD by age 25.
  • 1 in 20 people will get infected with HBV at some point in their lives.
  • An estimated 1 in 5 Americans have genital herpes and up to 90% are unaware that they have herpes.

Most Common STDS

  • HPV – more than 14 million new cases each year.
  • Chlamydia – 3 million new cases each year.
  • Trichomoniasis – more than 1 million new cases each year.
  • Gonorrhea – more than 800,000 new cases each year.
  • Genital Herpes – nearly 800,000 new cases each year.
  • Syphilis – approximately 55,000 new cases each year.
  • HIV – more than 41,000 each year.
  • HBV – 19,000 new cases each year.

Top 5 States With the Least STD Incidents

  • West Virginia
  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

Top 5 States with the Highest STD Incidents

  • North Carolina
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas

Top 10 Cities With The Most STD Incidents In the US

  • Austin, TX
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Miami, FL
  • New York City, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Washington, D.C.



Is There a Cure For Genital Warts?

What Are Genital Warts?

360,000 people in the USA develop genital warts every year. It’s spread easily with skin to skin contact, usually during sex, and is one of the more common STDs. There are treatments for your genital wart symptoms, but unless you treat the underlying virus they will come back eventually. To learn more about genital warts and what your options are, read on.

Genital warts are growths of skin that you’ll find on the genital area and around the anus, in some cases. The human papilloma virus, or HPV, is the underlying cause of these growths. There are 100 different kinds of HPV. Some types produce warts on different parts of the body, such as the hands and feet. Some can even cause different kinds of cancer. You’ll find that most genital warts are caused by HPV type 6 and type 11. Genital warts are common all over the world, with up to 1 million people getting them every year.

Genital warts aren’t usually considered dangerous. However, they look unsightly and they have a risk of bleeding. Because of this, they can increase your risk of contracting more serious conditions, like HIV. This is why you should always get checked over and find suitable treatment for your warts. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and all healthcare practitioners are used to seeing this kind of thing.

Symptoms Of Genital Warts

Genital warts have some telltale symptoms. You may get itchy bumps on the surface of the skin around and inside of the genital area. In some cases, they will cluster. They can be all different sizes, and range from hard to soft. That being said, you may just have one wart. This is why it can be tricky to diagnose them yourself. Other symptoms include burning and bleeding in the area. They aren’t usually painful, but they may become painful if they enlarge and aren’t treated. It’s less common to have them in your mouth and throat, but they can also appear here. It’s most common for these growths to appear 6 weeks to 6 months after contracting the infection, but in some cases they can take longer to appear.

You must bear in mind that not all fleshy growths in the area are necessarily genital warts. In some cases they may be skin tags, hemorrhoids, or skin cancer. This is why it’s so important to get checked rather than diagnosing yourself. You may find genital warts in these areas:

  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Thighs
  • Anus
  • Inside the vagina
  • Outside the vagina
  • Cervix

In some cases, they aren’t visible on the body and are inside of the body. Seeing a healthcare practitioner for a checkup is crucial if you suspect you have them but can’t see anything. Just because you don’t have any symptoms, doesn’t mean you don’t have the virus.

Where To Get Checked

Getting checked over for genital warts will confirm whether you have the virus or not. Women can be diagnosed with warts during a pelvic exam, but men don’t usually get checked out unless they complain of symptoms. You will be diagnosed after having a physical examination by your nurse or doctor. Warts can grow inside of the vagina and cervix for women, so a more thorough examination may be needed. Questions will be asked about your sexual health history, and it’s important that you are honest to get the best treatment.

Treatment For Genital Warts

In some cases, our bodies will fight off the virus and the warts will go away without treatment. This is why many people decide to leave them alone and hope they go away. That being said, the virus itself will not go away. Just because the warts aren’t there doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared. The body will usually get rid of the virus itself after some time, but there is no treatment for it. You can only cure the visible signs of the virus.

Some people are conscious of the way the warts look, or find them uncomfortable. There are a number of genital wart treatments that might be right for you. There are topical medicines that can be applied to the warts, however, treatment may need to be applied by your healthcare provider. Your warts may be burned, freezed, or lasered off. There are also injections that can help. It isn’t unusual for healthcare practitioners to use more than one treatment at a time in fighting the warts. A woman with genital warts may need a pap smear every 6 months to ensure that there are no cancerous cells or precancerous changes in the cervix.

As the virus itself can’t be eliminated once it’s in your bloodstream, managing symptoms properly is important. You’ll likely have numerous outbreaks throughout your life. You can pass genital warts on even when they aren’t visible on you.

Never attempt to use home remedies on your genital warts. They can do more harm than good. Over the counter remedies can also hinder rather than help. Abstaining from sex is important too. You will heal faster and avoid passing the warts on to somebody else. Taking painkillers after treatment and having warm baths can help to prevent discomfort. Here’s more about genital wart treatment:

Topical Treatments

There are a number of topical treatments that can work. However, if you’re using condoms, your topical treatment may weaken them. Make sure you know the risks by discussing them with your healthcare provider.

  • Podophyllotoxin – this kind of treatment shouldn’t be used during pregnancy. A small amount of liquid is used on the warts, having a toxic effect on them. It is mostly used to treat small clusters of warts. It can take up to 5 treatment cycles for this to work fully.
  • Imiquimod – this treatment is used for larger warts. It can take weeks to notice a difference in your warts, as the treatment encourages the immune system to attack them. You won’t use this if you’re pregnant.
  • Trichloroacetic acid – this treatment will be applied by a doctor or nurse. It’s used on hard, small warts. You may experience burning.

Physical ablation

These treatments are performed by a trained doctor or nurse. They include:

  • Cryotherapy – this treatment freezes the wart using liquid nitrogen. You may feel a burning sensation, and it can take up to 3 weeks to heal from it. You should avoid having sex until the site of the wart has healed.
  • Excision – hard warts may need to be cut away with a surgical scalpel. Incisions may need to be stitched up. This may not be suitable for large warts, as scarring can occur. Again, it’s best to avoid sex until you have healed.
  • Electrosurgery – this is to treat warts that may not have responded to topical treatments. It can be quite painful, so you’ll usually be given pain relief in the form of an anesthetic. Electric currents are used on the warts to burn away what’s left.
  • Laser surgery – laser surgery is recommended for warts that haven’t been responding to other treatments. It can be irritating, and take up to 4 weeks to heal. You will be given a general or local anesthetic.

For all treatments, it’s a good idea to abstain from all kinds of sex until you have fully healed. You’ll help your recovery, feel more comfortable, and won’t pass the infection onto others. For 3 months after your warts have cleared, you should still use a condom during intercourse. This is because there may still be traces of the virus in your cells. Bear in mind that as these treatments cannot treat the underlying HPV, there’s still a chance of the warts recurring. Always follow your healthcare practitioners aftercare advice.

How The Warts Are Spread

Genital warts are spread very easily with skin to skin contact. They are most commonly spread when engaging in sexual activity. Luckily, there are prevention methods that can limit your risk of getting the virus that causes them. Some prevention methods include:

  • Getting the HPV vaccine.
  • Always using condoms.
  • Giving up cigarettes. Smokers are more likely to get the virus and experience recurring warts.

Any sexually active person can get HPV. However, studies show that some people are more at risk than others. These risk factors include:

  • A history of child abuse.
  • A mother with the infection during childbirth.
  • Smokers.
  • Those with immune system weaknesses.
  • Being under the age of 30.

If you have a partner, being open and honest with them about your condition is important. When you’re honest and you know as much as possible about your condition, you can help prevent your partner from getting the virus.

Being sure you have these warts is important to get the right treatments. This is why diagnosing yourself is not recommended, and going for a checkup is best. You’ll be able to have your warts treated properly and avoid passing them on. They could be skin tags, or in rare cases, a form of cancer. The only way to know for sure is getting tested by a medical professional.

What Is STD Testing?

STD testing is essential for any person who is sexually active, especially those who have multiple sexual partners. There are certain contraceptive measures, including oral contraception, that can help you practice safer sex by preventing pregnancy; however, these methods don’t protect from STDs. If you’re not using condoms, you could be at risk for both pregnancy and STDs. Even if you haven’t had penetrative sex with a person, there’s still a risk of STD transmission with other related sexual acts. There are a number of different tests, depending on what your symptoms or risk factors are. In some cases, you might not even get signs or symptoms. It’s possible to have an STD without being aware of it. Having an STD for a long time without getting it treated can lead to many other problems. Sexually transmitted diseases are more common than many people think. Let’s take a deeper look at STD testing, what it entails, and who should be tested.

What is STD testing?

In the US, more than 19 million new STD infections occur every year. Half of all sexually active individuals will get an STD in their lifetimes. If these STDs aren’t detected and treated in a timely manner, they can cause all kinds of serious problems. Some of these problems include:

  • Organ damage
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Infertility

The only way to know for sure whether you have an STD is to get tested. Unfortunately, many people don’t get tested and treated quickly enough. This is usually down to the stigma attached to STDs and STD testing, or the fact they may not know they have an STD. If you’re a person who is sexually active, making your sexual health a priority involves getting tested for STDs.

At a regular checkup, you shouldn’t assume that you’re being tested for STDs. You usually have to ask for STD testing, even at a gynecological exam, and inquire as to which tests are being done. You need to remember that doctors can’t help you without you being open with them. Taking care of your sexual health is crucial, so don’t be shy about anything you think you may have been exposed to. Being as honest as possible will help you to get the right treatment.

Home STD Testing

If you’d rather test yourself at home, then you must make sure the kit you use is FDA approved and your samples are sent to a reputable lab afterwards. If you don’t, these tests can sometimes be unreliable. AT home tests can tend to return a high number of false positive results. If you test positive from a home test, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor or healthcare provider to confirm that you have the STD. If your test comes back negative but you do have symptoms, it could still be a good idea to see a doctor. Although home testing can save you some embarrassment, it’s more accurate to get tested with your doctor or at a clinic. This will save you time and money and ensure you are treated as quickly as possible. Remember, STDs are extremely common amongst sexually active adults. Nobody is judging you for being proactive about your sexual health.

Where to Get Tested

If you want to get tested by a professional, there are a number of places you can go. You can go to your local Planned Parenthood, another clinic, or a private health care provider.

What You Can Be Tested For

There are many different STDs that you can be tested for. Discussing your sexual history with your doctor should give you an idea of what kind of testing to have. Here are some of the STDs:

  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

You will usually need to ask to be tested for herpes as doctors don’t usually test for it. Your doctor will only know what to test you for if you are honest about your risk factors. Risk factors include:

  • You and your partner having other sexual partners
  • Known exposure to STDs, or suspected exposures
  • Medication you are taking
  • Types of protection used during different kinds of sexual activity

This can be difficult to talk about, but your health should take priority. If you’d rather, you can usually take a friend or partner with you for support.

Questions You May Be Asked During A Screening

As knowing as much as possible about your health and sexual history is important before testing, you’ll be asked a number of questions. These may include:

  • When your last period was
  • Whether you’ve used over-the-counter medicine to treat symptoms
  • Whether you’ve had an STD before
  • How many sexual partners you have and what kind of protection you use

Being honest with your healthcare provider is crucial to getting the right testing and treatment. It can be tempting to lie out of fear that they’ll judge you, but you are only hurting yourself if you do.

Potential STD Symptoms

There are a number of symptoms that may point to you having an STD. These include sores on the genital area, discharge, itching, and burning. You may also notice a strange smell. You must bear in mind that you won’t always show symptoms. Many people don’t know that they have an STD because the infections are frequently asymptomatic. This is why it’s so important to get tested if you’ve ever had unprotected sex, no matter how long ago it was.

How You Are Tested

The way you are tested will vary depending on what you suspect you might have or are being tested for. Some worry that it will be painful or uncomfortable, but you can test for many STDs using a simple blood or urine sample. Just be aware that these may not be reliable in detecting some STDs. You may need to have had the infection for more than a month before it shows up in your blood test. In some cases, it may be better if you are examined by your doctor. They’ll look for telltale signs, but you should also let them know if you’ve noticed any changes around your genitals yourself. Swabs can also be used to detect STDs. You may have your genitals swabbed, or the inside of your mouth to test saliva. It depends, but your doctor may let you swab yourself depending on the circumstances.

Some people think they are automatically tested if they are having a gynecological exam or are having any other kind of testing performed by their doctor. This isn’t the case. You must ask to be tested for STDs and let your doctor know why you think you should get tested. If you’re unsure, make sure you ask exactly what you’re being tested for. Don’t be afraid to request a form of test if you think you need it.

When Should You Be Tested?

There are a few different circumstances in which you should consider getting tested. For instance, if you’re about to start a new relationship, it’s a good idea to get tested first. If your partner has cheated on you, or you’re thinking of not using condoms anymore, you should get tested. If you have symptoms for any STDs or have multiple partners, these are also good reasons to get tested.

The only time you may not need regular testing is if you’re in a long-term, monogamous relationship and you were both tested for STDs beforehand. If you weren’t tested beforehand, there’s always the possibility you have had an undiagnosed STD for a while. It’s more common to find this than you might think.

Getting Your Results

If you test positive for an STD, you need to take the treatment as recommended by your healthcare provider. You may need to take an antibiotic. If your STD is serious, in some cases there’s no cure, and you’ll simply need to learn to manage the symptoms. It’s also your responsibility to tell your sexual partners that you have an STD. You can pass infections on easily, so making sure they also get tested and treated is important. If you don’t, they could develop serious health problems. You can also have a nurse tell your partners for you, and your name will not be used.

It’s normal to feel very emotional after finding out you have an STD. You may feel upset, angry, or ashamed of yourself. You shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. Learn from your mistakes, and be glad you did the right thing by getting tested. You can speak to your doctor or nurse about any other sexual health concerns you may have. They can refer you to outside services if you want more support.

After testing positive and taking the treatment, you may need to be tested again to be sure you are clear of the STD. This may happen in chlamydia cases, for instance. You will need to finish the course of treatment, and make sure your partners have done so before you engage in sexual activity again. If you do engage in sexual activity with a partner before treatment is finished, there’s a chance the STD will stay in your body. This can cause problems later on. You will need to go to your healthcare provider again to discuss this. Remember, your results and information will always be stored in a secure database.

Taking care of your sexual health has never been more important than it is now. With the high number of new infections spreading every year, taking care of yourself should be your priority.

11 Safe Sex Practices That Actually Work

Once you are sexually active, you will need to ensure that you are always having safe sex. This can help you drastically reduce the risk of catching STDs such as herpes and HIV. This may be the unglamorous side of sex, but it is something that you cannot ignore. After all, certain STDs can significantly affect your health and have many terrible side effects.

So what exactly is safe sex and how can you practice it? In this blog post, we’ll go through eleven safe sex practices that actually work. Once you start following these practices, you will find that your sex life is a safe and happy one!

1.) Know Your Current Status

Once you are sexually active, it is very important that you get your sexual health checked out as often as possible. Ideally, you need to do this each time you get a new sexual partner. This is even necessary if you are no longer sexually active for a long period. That’s because some STDs do not show their symptoms for the first few months. For instance, chlamydia can be symptomless for quite a long time after the sufferer as contracted it. By the time you finally realize that you have an STD, it may be too late, and you could have already passed it on to someone. It is also important that your new sexual partner gets checked out as well. That way, you can be sure that he or she isn’t going to pass anything onto you.

2.) Use Condoms

Condoms are one of the best ways to prevent the spread of STDs. Even though a condom can greatly reduce your risk of being infected, you still need to remember that this method isn’t 100% effective. Male condoms are the most common form of condoms. However, if a man does not want to wear one during intercourse, his female partner can wear a special condom that fits inside her vagina. Some people are allergic to latex, which is what condoms are made out of. If this is you, you can still use latex-free condoms. You should use condoms for all forms of penetrative sex. That includes vaginal and anal intercourse.

3.) Use Other Types Of Protection

Condoms are the best form of protection when you are having penetrative sex. But did you know that there are other types of protection that keep you safe during other sexual activities? For example, you can buy dental dams that have been specially designed to protect you during oral sex. If you are using your hands during foreplay, you can also use latex gloves to prevent spreading any STDs. Are you currently using a contraception method to stop yourself getting pregnant? Then you still need to use something to stop getting STDs. The only form of sexual protection that prevents pregnancy and STDs is a condom. Both male and female condoms provide protection against pregnancy and STDs.

4.) Use Your Protection Safely

When you use condoms, it is important that you use them safely and correctly. If you don’t, then your chances of catching an STD are very likely to increase. It is very important that you and your partner both know how to put on a condom correctly. This can make sure that as much of the semen is blocked from entering the vagina as possible. It is sometimes also necessary to use lubrication with your condom. That is because a condom can tear if not properly lubricated. When you are choosing your lubricant, try to stay away from oil-based ones. The oil in the formula can actually increase the condom’s chances of tearing.

5.) Be Careful With Alcohol And Drugs

Alcohol and drugs aren’t going to increase your chance of catching STDs on their own. But they can lead you to make very risky choices. And it is this risky behavior that can help spread a variety of STDs. Be sure not to ever overindulge when drinking or using drugs, as this can lead to a bad sexual decision. If you are very drunk, you may also be putting yourself at risk of sexual assault. When you do drink on a night out, make sure that you are always with your friends. They will be able to help you get home safely if you ever drink a bit too much.

6.) Practice Monogamy

Sticking with a monogamous partner can help to keep your chances of catching an STD very low. This is because you can both get tested to make sure that you are clear. One benefit of having an STD-free long-term partner is that you will not need to use a condom during sex. Once you are in a monogamous relationship, it is important that both you and your partner remain faithful to one another. If you ever do stray and end up in bed with someone else, you could unwittingly bring an STD into your relationship.

7.) Don’t Douche After Sex

In the past, it was thought that women should douche after sex to make sure that there is no semen left inside them. However, it is now known that this can actually increase the risk of STDs. That’s because douching can remove a lot of natural bacteria from the vagina. And most of this bacteria helps the body fight STDs. So by douching, you are preventing your body from fighting against infections and dangerous bacteria. Rather than resorting to such methods, you should make sure that you are using protection correctly. If you do, you will not have to rely on these unnecessary quick-fix methods.

8.) Keep Your Sexual Partners Down To A Minimum

The fewer sexual partners you have, the lower your chance is of catching an STD. It makes sense if you think about it because you aren’t putting yourself at risk so much. Try and find monogamous sexual partners who you know will be faithful. If you are single, try and stay away from one-night stands as you may not know exactly who you are having sex with. If you do ever find yourself indulging in casual sex, make sure that you are always protected and use a condom.

9.) Clean Sex Toys

Many couples use sex toys to add an extra element of excitement to their relationship. These shouldn’t spread any STDs as long as you use them correctly. If you regularly use sex toys with your sexual partner, you should make sure that these are cleaned after every use. You may also want to sterilize your toys in between use for added protection. If you would rather not go to the bother of washing your toys, you can use a condom on them. This should keep the toy clean while you use it. Make sure you clean the instructions that come with each toy thoroughly. Some toys will require different methods of cleaning.

10.) Communication Is Very Important

When you do get a new sexual partner, it is very important that you are completely open and honest with them. If you do have an STD that is currently being treated, you need to let them know. This way, you can figure out the best form of protection to use to keep your partner safe. It is also worth telling them about any past STDs you have had, even if you are now clean. You should also encourage your partner to talk to you about their sexual health history as well. Some STDs and sexual infections are not curable, which will result in you and your new partner having to always use protection during sex. If this is the case, inform your partner so that they can stay safe and take the necessary precautions.

11.) Abstain From Sex

Ultimately, there is only one method that is 100% effective at preventing the spread of STDs. And that is not having any sexual contact with others. This is also the only 100% effective way of preventing pregnancy. It is always important to abstain from sex until you are completely ready, both emotionally and physically. Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to have sex straight away. You may want to wait until you are completely happy with your new partner. If this is the case, be sure to communicate with them to let you know that you want to wait. By being honest with all your partners, you are helping to protect each other’s sexual health. If you are single, abstaining is also a lot healthier than indulging in multiple one-night stands.

You will find that if you follow all the above safe sex practices, you can enjoy a healthy and happy sex life. Not only that, though, but your partners will also benefit from a potentially STD-free sex life as well.

No one wants to end up taking an emergency trip to the sexual health clinic after having sex. Hopefully, this blog post has given you plenty of ideas of how you can prevent that situation from ever happening!

Research Begins Using Google To Monitor STD Rates

The CDC might have a new tool in helping to anticipate and treat the spread of infectious STDs. Internet search giant Google has recently allowed access to their search term data for at least four academic institutions including the University of Illinois – Chicago in order for participation in current studies that attempt to track the spread of infections in real time by monitoring commonly searched terms by geographic areas.

The theory behind this is that by monitoring what people are searching in real time, researchers can correlate this data with new cases of STDs being reported in order to act with local health providers to anticipate new significant outbreaks and alert the population to take added precautions to prevent infection. In theory, if more people in a certain major metropolitan area are searching terms such as “painful urination” as more cases of chlamydia or gonorrhea are being reported to local health authorities, it can be safely deduced that there is a new wave of STD outbreaks moving through the population. This alerts local health authorities that they need to be particularly vigilant in their treatment methods and address the issue quickly to prevent further spread.

This, in addition to regular STD testing and safe sex practices, can help to reduce the number of new sexually transmitted disease infections throughout the country. With the number of new cases of STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea on the rise throughout the United States any new tools available to aid in prevention can prove to be invaluable.

You can help protect yourself as well as any potential sexual partners by getting yourself tested for STDs regularly.