Nearly half of everyone who’s sexually active will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the time they’re 25 years old. STDs, also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are bacteria, parasites, or viruses that are primarily spread through sexual contact.
STDs are common, and anyone can get one — regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, or the number of sexual partners they have. Many STDs don’t have noticeable symptoms, but that doesn’t mean they can’t lead to serious health complications if left untreated.
It’s time to learn more about STDs. If you’re sexually active, you’re at risk for contracting one of these common diseases. Sanford White, MD, and our team at Abortion Care offer fast and accurate STD testing for women of all ages to help you better manage your health.
STDs are common
About 20 million Americans are diagnosed with an STD every year. STDs can affect men and women of all ages and sexual habits.
Since STDs are common, there’s no reason to be embarrassed when discussing your sexual health with our team. Be sure to ask questions and find out if you should get an STD screening.
Anyone who has unprotected sex can get an STD, but certain factors may increase your risk. Younger people and those who have multiple partners are most likely to develop an STD at some point.
STDs don’t always have symptoms
Many people don’t know when they’ve gotten an STD. It’s possible to have one without exhibiting any symptoms. Without symptoms, it’s easy for an STD to go untreated and spread to other people you have sex with.
Because most common STDs don’t have symptoms, you can’t rely on noticing changes to determine if you have an STD. But in some cases, symptoms do appear when you contract an STD. Some symptoms include:
- Genital sores
- Itching or irritation in the genital area
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Genital burning sensations
- Flu-like symptoms
Some of these symptoms can indicate other health issues, like a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you suspect an STD, visit the doctor for an expert diagnosis.
STDs can cause other health problems
If you have an undiagnosed or untreated STD, it can spread to others. But it can also cause health complications for you.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common STD that’s linked to cervical cancer, other types of cancer, and genital warts. There’s no cure for HPV, but treatments are available to manage your symptoms and lower your risk of cancer.
Syphilis is another common STD that may cause health issues if left untreated. It can cause flu-like symptoms in some people. Over time, it may lead to nerve damage and heart problems.
Some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause fertility problems if they’re left untreated. It’s not uncommon for women with chlamydia or gonorrhea to experience infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Getting tested for STDs is important
If you’re sexually active, you’re at risk for contracting an STD, even if you have just one sexual partner. Many common STDs don’t have obvious symptoms, and you could have an STD and spread it to other people without even knowing it.
STD screening is the only way to get a diagnosis and find a treatment plan that’s right for you. With a simple STD screening, our team can identify which STD is affecting your health. We can develop a treatment plan that either eliminates the condition or helps you manage it in the long term.
Sexually active women have a responsibility to themselves to understand the risks of STDs. Education and getting tested are both critical elements of your health care. If it’s time to schedule your next STD screening, call our office in Somerset, New Jersey, at 732-408-6182.