How often should I get tested for STIs?
If you are experiencing any symptoms related to an STI, or suspect exposure, it is important to get tested. If left untreated, STIs such as gonorrhea can cause a host of issues, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and urethritis. Pregnant women should also note that gonorrhea can cause ectopic pregnancy or can even lead to a miscarriage.
It is also good to note that even if you have received an STD treatment before, you are still at risk for reinfection if you are exposed to a sexual partner that has gonorrhea.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following groups get tested annually:
- Sexually active women under the age of 25
- Women over the age of 25 with multiple sexual partners
- Gay or bisexual men
- Individuals with HIV
- People who have been forced to have sexual activity against their will
Pregnant women should be tested early in the pregnancy because an STI infection can lead to low birth weight, premature labor, or result in a miscarriage. The CDC also recommends that teens and adults ages 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
Testing varies depending on the type of STI you have. Chlamydia and gonorrhea usually involve a urine or swab test, while other types of STIs including syphilis and genital herpes may require blood tests.
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