Why is STD Screening Important?

Sexually transmitted infections are common and a fact of life for ordinary Americans. They can affect sexually active individuals and even those who are not high-risk. Many STIs are asymptomatic, so you can’t assume you are not infected because you are symptom-free. For this reason, regular Las Vegas STD testing is important. Read on to learn why you should get tested for STIs.

A monogamous relationship is not a guarantee.

You may feel like you don’t need STD testing if you are married or in another mutually monogamous relationship. This could work for you if everyone in the relationship got screened for STIs before beginning a sexual relationship.

Many people with an STI are unaware that they are infected until years later when symptoms appear; this can cause relationship problems. Therefore, it is important to screen before a sexual relationship to know where everyone stands and avoid false accusations of cheating.

Virgins can have STDs

You may describe a virgin as someone who has never had sexual intercourse. However, to others, a virgin has never had any type of intimate contact, including oral sex. But just because you’ve never had vaginal intercourse doesn’t mean you can’t have an STI. Some viruses can spread through skin-to-skin contact; examples include human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis. 

A condition like oral herpes can be passed by casual affection between family members. Many people are infected with oral herpes during childhood. A person with oral herpes can spread cold sores to your genitals during oral sex. If you develop genital herpes symptoms after oral sex with someone that identifies as a virgin, you may need a culture or urine test to confirm whether or not HSV causes your symptoms.

You can only be treated after being diagnosed.

It can be nerve-wracking to learn that you’ve been diagnosed with an STI. However, knowing is much better since then, you can seek treatment. Additionally, certain sexually transmitted infections like HIV are easier to treat when detected early. STIs can lead to infertility, organ damage, certain types of cancer, and death without early treatment.

Not all STIs cause symptoms

As previously mentioned, many people with STIs are unaware they are infected because they don’t have symptoms. For example, up to 70% of women with chlamydia do not have symptoms. Therefore, being symptom-free does not guarantee that you don’t have an STI. Additionally, you can pass an infection to others even when you are symptom-free. The best way to avoid passing an STI to your partner is by getting screened and receiving the necessary treatment.

Untreated STIs can cause permanent problems.

If an STI goes untreated, it can cause long-term health problems even with no initial symptoms. For example, in females, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes scar tissue in the fallopian tube, resulting in infertility or ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition whereby a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.

When was the last time you got screened for an STI? Visit your doctor at Darin Swainston, MD, FACOG, for STI screening to take control of your sex life.

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