STI/ STD Testing

While there are a range of sexually transmitted infections, the most prevalent include:

- Chlamydia: A bacterial infection that is most often spread through unprotected sex

- Gonorrhea: A bacterial infection that can infect the rectum, throat, urethra, and cervix.

- Syphilis: A bacterial infection that starts as a painless sore on the mouth, rectum, or genitals, and is spread from contact with these sores via your mucous membrane or skin.

- Trichomoniasis: A parasite that can transfer between people during sex.

- Genital warts: An infection caused by certain strains of HPV, which can affect the moist tissues of the genitals.

- Hepatitis B (HBV): HBV is a virus that is spread between people through body fluids such as blood and semen. This means it's transmissible through sexual contact and sharing needles.

- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. The HIV/AIDS virus can break down certain cells of your immune system, leaving you increasingly susceptible to infections and illnesses. HIV/AIDs can be fatal.

- Human papillomavirus (HPV): Pelvic inflammatory disease that has the potential to cause cancer in women and men.

- Herpes simplex virus: Herpes is a viral infection that can result in sores on your mouth and/or genitals. Herpes of the mouth and genital herpes, though painful or annoying at times, does not usually lead to other serious health problems.

Leaving any of these STIs untreated can cause serious health problems.

The main difference between the two is that STIs are infections; and STDs are diseases. STDs usually begin as STIs before causing symptoms and becoming a disease. Infections do not always cause symptoms.

STD symptoms can vary significantly, depending on the infection that you've contracted. The most common STDs - and their symptoms - include:

- Syphilis: The symptoms of syphilis fall in three phases of the disease. Primary syphilis develops around 3 weeks from exposure and results in a small sore. Secondary syphilis happens a few weeks after primary syphilis a rash starts to spread, and may be accompanied by fever, sore throat and muscles, swollen lymph nodes, and hair loss. In the tertiary syphilis phase, you face potential damage to your liver, eyes, nerves, bones, joints, blood vessels, heart, and brain.

- Trichomoniasis: In men, penile discharge, itchiness on the inside of the penis, and burning after ejaculation or urination. In women, unusual vaginal discharge, pain or discomfort while urinating, and itching, burning, or soreness around the genitals.

- Chlamydia: Common symptoms include a burning sensation when peeing, discharge from the penis, abnormal vaginal discharge, and less commonly pain and swelling in the testicles.

- Gonorrhea: In men, symptoms include pain and/or swelling in one testicle, pus-like discharge from the penis, and pain while urinating. In women, a higher rate of vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvis or abdomen, bleeding between periods or after sex, and pain when urinating.

- Herpes: Herpes of the mouth and genital herpes can result in sores on your mouth, throat, inner thighs, and/or genitals. In some rare cases, sores can also appear on your eyes.

- Genital warts: These small, swollen, pink, or brown bumps can cause itchiness, and bleeding from sex. When clustered together, genital warts resemble cauliflower.

STI screenings are tests that play a crucial role in detecting sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs & STDs). These are not necessarily a routine part of a comprehensive physical exam, so it is important that you ask your primary care provider or gynecologist about receiving testing. Early detection can prevent medical complications for both you and your partner.

It can be awkward to talk about your sex life, but it is important that you are upfront about any symptoms you may be experiencing, your health history, the number of sexual partners you have, and the type of sexual contact you have had recently. All of these details are factors that can help your provider offer accurate STD testing.

Common forms of STD testing include:

  • Urine tests
  • Cheek swabs/ discharge swabs
  • Fluid sampling from sores
  • Blood testing
  • Physical examination

The specific type of test you need will depend on your symptoms and your health history. If you are diagnosed with an STD, you should tell any sexual partners you have about the diagnosis so that they can be tested and treated - if needed.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to an STD, or suspect exposure, it is important to get tested. If left untreated, STDs 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 STD 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 STD you have. Chlamydia and gonorrhea usually involve a urine or swab test, while other types of STDs including syphilis and genital herpes may require blood tests.

There are different types of STI tests depending on your particular case and symptoms. This can be in the form of a blood test, urine test, or swab test, and can be performed at a doctor's office. Through telehealth platforms like Sesame, some doctors may even provide at-home tests. Depending on the test results, your doctor can help develop an STI treatment program that catered to your individual needs.

Common STD symptoms include itchiness, pain with urination, unusual discharge. Symptoms may also include sores, warts, or rashes in your genital area. If you engage in sexual activity with multiple individuals or have recently changed sex partners, you may want to get tested.

In order to protect the sexual health of both individuals, sexual partners should get tested before they start having sex. Because STIs can live in a person for years without any symptoms, it's never a bad idea to get tested. Using protection - like condoms, for example - can also reduce the likelihood that you or your partner may contract an STI.

STI/STD treatment varies based on your particular diagnosis. Some are treatable with antibiotics, while others require antiviral treatments. During your appointment, talk to your provider about your symptoms and your health history to determine the treatment option that is right for you.

STI/STD treatment varies based on your particular case. Some are treatable with antibiotics, while others require antiviral treatments. You can help prevent the spread of STIs by using protection.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea tests are simple forms of testing used to detect the presence of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Both of these diseases are caused by a bacterial infection spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Women may pass gonorrhea to an unborn child if they have not been treated for the condition while pregnant.

In many cases, chlamydia and gonorrhea cause little to no symptoms. This makes it difficult to tell whether or not you have been infected with the bacteria that cause these diseases. Because of this, it is important to undergo screening for gonorrhea or chlamydia if you think you may have an infection, or if you are at an increased risk of contracting one of these diseases. These STDs can cause serious complications if left untreated.

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea are common bacterial infections. In many cases, these diseases result in little to no symptoms. However, in other cases, symptoms include:


Common symptoms of gonorrhea in men include:

  • Pain during urination
  • Off-color discharge from the penis
  • Testicular pain

Common symptoms in women include:

  • Pain during urination
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods or after sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • White or yellowish vaginal discharge

In addition to infecting the genitals, gonorrhea can infect the rectum, the eyes, and the throat. The most common symptoms of these infections include pain and discharge from the affected area. Pregnant women can pass a gonorrhea infection to their babies during childbirth. This can lead to serious medical conditions such as blindness and sores on the body.

While early symptoms of gonorrhea are generally mild - sometimes even unnoticeable - if the infection is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications. These include:

  • Infertility
  • Increased risk of HIV/ AIDS
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Heart and brain damage
  • Joint infection


Common symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • Clear or white discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Burning pain during urination
  • Testicular pain in men
  • Itching or burning sensations around the vagina in women
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods and after intercourse in women

In addition to the sex organs, chlamydia can infect the rectum which may cause rectal bleeding, pain, and discharge. Bodily fluids carrying the bacteria can also infect the eye, causing conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Symptoms of chlamydia may be so mild that you don’t even notice them. If left untreated, however, chlamydia can lead to serious complications such as:

- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): PID is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This can be extremely painful and may damage the reproductive organs.

- Infertility and sterility: A chlamydia infection can damage reproductive organs in both men and women. If left untreated, chlamydia can damage and scar these areas so badly that the infected person is unable to conceive children.

- Newborn infection: The chlamydia bacteria can be passed to a child during delivery, resulting in illness and infection of the child. In some cases, infection to a newborn can be life-threatening.

- Premature birth or ectopic pregnancy: A chlamydia infection increases the risk of giving birth too early, which can be dangerous for the newborn child. Additionally, chlamydia increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus. The egg must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea commonly affect younger individuals (ages 15-24). The CDC recommends that sexually active women under the age of 25 receive yearly tests for both of these infections. Other individuals who are at an increased risk of infection - and who should receive yearly testing - include:

  • Men who have sex with men
  • Men or women who have multiple sexual partners
  • Men or women who engage in unprotected sex
  • Men or women who have previously been diagnosed with an STD
  • Men or women who have had a sex partner previously diagnosed with an STD
  • Men or women who have been diagnosed with HIV/ AIDS

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea tests can be performed by your primary care provider. Women may be asked to avoid douching and vaginal creams for up to 24 hours before a screening appointment.

Women undergoing a gonorrhea test will have a small cell sample taken from their cervix via a cotton swab or brush. This should cause no pain or discomfort. If you do not feel comfortable receiving a gonorrhea test in person, you may be able to perform the test at home with a kit. If this is the case, consult your doctor about what kit to use and how to pass along your sample.

Women undergoing a test for chlamydia will have a cell sample taken from their vagina with a cotton swab or brush.

Men may have a cell sample taken from the opening of the urethra for both gonorrhea and chlamydia tests.

In some cases, for both men and women, a urine sample may be used to detect the presence of these diseases. If your doctor orders a urine test as a screen for STDs, you may be asked to refrain from urinating 1-2 hours before your appointment.

After a urine sample is collected, the vial containing the urine will be given to a lab for testing. Similarly, if a cotton swab or brush was used to collect cell samples, these instruments will be given to the lab for testing.

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is commonly passed through sexual contact, sharing needles, and pregnancy (mothers passing the virus to unborn children). Hepatitis B will usually be cleared from the body within 6 months of infection, but individuals with weakened immune systems may experience a chronic infection that can lead to liver scarring and cancer.

The hepatitis B test is a routine blood test that checks the blood for the presence of the HBV virus. This test may be ordered if you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of liver damage. Additionally, an HBV test may be recommended if you are healthy, but at risk of contracting HBV. HBV screening tests are recommended for the following individuals:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who are living with someone who has been infected with HBV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have multiple sexual partners
  • People who have been previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
  • People who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C or HIV
  • People who use IV drugs
  • People with liver disease
  • People over the age of 60 with diabetes
  • People who have traveled from countries where hepatitis B is common

The CDC estimates that nearly 1.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. About 3,000 Americans die from the infection every year. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to the HBV virus, contact your health care provider right away.

Symptoms of HBV commonly appear within 1-4 months after infection and may range from mild to severe. These symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellowed skin or eyes)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Darkened urine
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting

These symptoms are not necessarily an indication of hepatitis B, but they are common symptoms of a liver condition. If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider about scheduling an HBV screening test.

If left untreated, HBV can lead to complications such as:

  • Cirrhosis (liver scarring)
  • Liver cancer
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney disease

Most HBV tests are performed at a primary care office. If your doctor suspects that you may be experiencing symptoms of an HBV or a liver condition, they may order that you take an HPV test to screen your blood for the presence of the hepatitis B virus.

If you are undergoing an HBV test in a primary care clinic, your blood will be drawn for testing. During your appointment, your arm will be wrapped in a band to push blood into the veins of the arm. This makes it easier to insert the needle that will be drawing blood from that area. You may feel a slight pinch as the needle is inserted into your arm, but this sensation should pass within a few seconds. The needle draws blood from a vein in your arm, depositing it into a vial or test tube. Some individuals or tests may require multiple tubes to be filled.

After the needed about of blood has been drawn, the needle will be taken out of your arm and the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged. The blood will then be sent to a lab for testing and analysis.

You will get your results for most tests in 1-3 business days. Depending on the results of your blood test, your health care provider may request follow-up testing to provide a definitive diagnosis of any health conditions or diseases they may detect.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is spread through anal, oral, and vaginal sex. An infected individual spreads the Treponema pallidum bacterium, which enters the body through the vagina, anus, or mouth. It cannot be spread through sharing utensils, clothing, or restroom surfaces with someone who has been infected.

Once the infecting bacteria enters the body, it progresses through stages of infection which are detailed below:

- Primary syphilis: This first stage of infection occurs within 2-3 weeks after exposure. The first sign of infection is usually a small sore that appears on the genitals or mouth called a chancre. Some people only develop one of these sores, while others develop several. A chancre is usually painless and may be undetectable if it appears in the anus or vagina. This sore will go away within a few weeks on its own.

- Secondary syphilis: After several weeks of the chancre healing, a rash will begin to appear on the torso or on your hands and feet. This rash frequently spreads, resulting in dry and bumpy skin all over the body. During this stage of the infection, you may experience fatigue, muscle aches, fever, and a sore throat.

- Latent syphilis: If syphilis goes untreated, it will move into the latent stage of infection. During this time, you may experience no symptoms, even though you are still carrying the infectious bacteria. Despite not showing signs of the infection for years, the Treponema pallidum bacterium may damage your bones, heart, brain, nerves, and eyes.

- Tertiary syphilis: About ⅓ of individuals who have untreated syphilis progress to the late stage of the infection, known as tertiary syphilis. This occurs after years of infection and results in severe medical conditions such as brain damage, heart disease, nerve damage, mobility loss, vision loss, and tumors.

Pregnant women who have not been treated for syphilis may pass the infection to their babies during birth. This can lead to cause serious - sometimes lethal - health problems for both the mother and child.

Nearly 80,000 cases of syphilis are diagnosed in the United States every year. Risk factors for contracting syphilis include:

  • Unprotected sex (not using a condom)
  • Sex with multiple partners
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Are infected with other sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS

Syphilis is diagnosed through blood testing. Because symptoms may not show up - especially in the early stages of the infection - lab tests are required to definitively detect the condition. The blood tests most commonly used to diagnose syphilis are detailed below:

- Rapid plasma reagin (RPR): This blood test checks the blood for the presence of syphilis antibodies. These proteins are produced by the body to combat a foreign substance - such as the syphilis bacteria. The presence of syphilis antibodies may indicate an infection.

- Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL): This test also checks the blood for the presence of syphilis antibodies.

If your doctor has ordered a blood test for syphilis, no specific preparation is needed. However, some doctors elect to perform a lumbar puncture (drawing of spinal fluid) to submit spinal fluid for the testing detailed above. If your doctor has requested a lumbar puncture to test for syphilis, you may be asked to empty your bowels and bladder prior to the procedure.

Syphilis testing can be performed at a primary care clinic. If your doctor has elected to test your blood, a small needle will be inserted into your arm to draw blood from the veins in the forearm. You may feel a slight sting or pinch as the needle is inserted, but this pain is generally short-lived.

After the appropriate amount of blood has been drawn and deposited into a test tube, the needle will be removed, the puncture site cleaned and bandaged, and your blood will be sent to the lab for testing.

Advanced cases of syphilis may require a test of spinal fluid drawn from the back. For this test, you will be asked to sit or lie on your side on an examination table. Your doctor will apply a numbing gel to the back and inject anesthesia into the skin of the back to minimize pain felt during the procedure. Once the area is totally numb, a thin, hollow needle will be inserted in between the vertebrae of the spine. After the needle has been inserted between these bones, your doctor will draw a small amount of spinal fluid from the area. This takes around 5 minutes. Afterward, the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged.

You may be asked to remain on your back for an hour or two to prevent headaches or adverse side effects. Your doctor will offer direction about whether or not this should be done at the clinic or at home.

Neither of these tests requires sedation, so you are usually cleared to go home after the exam. If you have had spinal fluid drawn from your back, you may be asked to stay at the clinic for an hour or so to prevent any side effects.

You should hear back from your primary care provider regarding your results within a day or two. If you have not heard from your doctor after 3-5 days, get in touch with the clinic to ask about the status of your test.

Follow-up testing may be required to definitively diagnose syphilis. The antibodies tested in the exams detailed above may be produced without the presence of syphilis bacteria. Because of this, your doctor may request a second blood test to confirm a positive (meaning you likely have been infected with the bacteria) or negative (no evidence of bacterial infection) result.

Syphilis is treated with a course of an antibiotic, usually penicillin. When treated early, syphilis is very effectively treated with penicillin. If the disease has moved into later stages, additional doses of the medication may be needed through injection.

Even if the chancer or other symptoms of syphilis begin to go away, it is important that you finish the entire course of your medication. The bacteria that causes the infection can recur if not treated completely, so it is important that you continue your prescription even if you begin to feel better.

After you have been treated with penicillin, your doctor may order a blood test to ensure that you have been cured of the infection. Practice safe sex using a latex condom to prevent future infections or spreading the infection to sexual partners.

Symptoms of vaginitis can include irregular vaginal discharge (thick, grayish-white, greenish-yellow, and/or cottage cheese-like), vaginal itching, vaginal soreness, or an especially fishy vaginal odor.

It is important to see a doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by a fever, pelvic pain, or chills. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can prevent vaginitis from dissipating on its own accord. Connect directly with a gynecologist through Sesame and save up to 60% on healthcare services. Whether it's symptoms related to vaginitis or regular check-ups, Sesame clears your way to quality care.

If left untreated, certain types of vaginal infections can cause more issues down the road. Trichomoniasis, for example, can cause urinary tract infections and can put you at a higher risk for developing cervical cancer, especially if you are also infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The bottom line: if you have concerns regarding your vaginal infection, you should see a healthcare provider such as a gynecologist to get the care - and peace of mind - that you need.

There are many causes of vaginitis. Some common causes include:

Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis): There are many reasons why you can get an overgrowth of Candida albicans, including high levels of estrogen, poor diet, antibiotics, and diabetes.

STDs: Different types of sexually transmitted diseases can cause vaginitis, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and trichomoniasis.

Bacterial overgrowth: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a condition that involves the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. New sex partners and douching are a few examples of how an imbalance of bacteria can occur in the vagina.

Foreign objects: Things like forgotten tampons, or tissue paper can irritate the tissues of the vagina.

Vaginitis is treatable based on its cause. While antibiotics treat BV, they may not treat vaginitis caused by a fungal infection. Speaking to a doctor about your symptoms can help reveal a diagnosis and treatment plan that's specific to your case. Sesame offers telehealth visits up to 60% off what you'd pay through an insurance carrier. Book a virtual consult with a gynecologist through Sesame and get ready to save.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a viral infection that damages your body’s immune system. HIV is transmitted through sexual contact or contact with infected blood. Pregnant women may pass this disease to their unborn child, or through breastfeeding. HIV is the early stage of the infection that may progress to become AIDS. If left untreated, HIV usually develops into AIDS within 8-10 months - once the virus has severely damaged the immune system.

HIV/ AIDS dramatically affects your body’s ability to fight infection. Individuals managing AIDS may become fatally ill from a disease that causes mild symptoms in healthy individuals.

Deaths caused by HIV/ AIDS have decreased in the last 10-20 years, however, the disease is still deadly if left untreated. Early detection can help you and your doctor slow the progression of the illness through medication.

No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after exposure. The tests used to diagnose HIV are usually employed within 10-90 days after infection. If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, contact your doctor to schedule a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) appointment. PEP involves taking medication for 28 days after possible exposure to prevent HIV.

You may elect to undergo PEP if:

  • You had unprotected sex with someone who may be infected, or if the condom broke during sex
  • If you have shared needles, syringes, or injection equipment (most common in narcotic drug users)
  • You have been sexually assaulted

If you are worried that you may have been exposed to HIV, talk to your doctor about scheduling a test to diagnose the disease. Specific instructions for timing and preparation will be given depending on your symptoms, and the timing of your exposure.

HIV is commonly diagnosed through blood or saliva testing. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HIV, but receive a negative test result, it is recommended that you receive a second test several days or weeks after your first test. HIV is sometimes indetectable depending on the test and the timing window after your exposure.

Before undergoing HIV testing, tell your doctor when you think you may have been exposed. This can help them determine the appropriate test for you.

The most common types of HIV tests are:

- Antigen/ antibody test: Antibody tests examine blood or saliva for specific protein cells that are produced as a reaction to viruses or bacteria. It may take several weeks for your body to produce these antibodies, so this test is most accurate 2-6 weeks after infection. Blood drawn from a vein may produce results more quickly (18-45 days after exposure) than blood drawn from a finger prick (18-90 days after exposure).

- Antibody test: This test is most accurate 3-12 weeks after exposure. Like an antigen/ antibody test, this procedure tests the blood or saliva for the presence of specific antibodies to detect infection. Antibody tests may be performed at a primary care clinic, or at home. At-home testing may take longer to produce results as you will be required to ship the blood or saliva sample you collect at home.

- Nucleic acid test: A nucleic acid test uses blood drawn from a vein to detect the presence of the virus in the blood - unlike the tests detailed above which check for antibodies. A nucleic acid test can usually detect HIV within 10-30 days after exposure, earlier than the antibody and antigen tests above.

Before scheduling an HIV test, talk to your doctor about when you think you may have been exposed to the HIV virus. This can help them determine which type of test is right for you.

HIV tests require either a blood or saliva sample.

In most cases, a blood test will be used at a primary care clinic. For this, a small needle will be inserted into your arm. You may feel a slight pinch or sting as the needle enters the skin, but this pain should subside within a few seconds. Blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm and deposited into a small test tube.

After the appropriate amount of blood has been taken from the vein, the needle will be removed from your arm, the puncture site cleaned, and the area bandaged. The test tube will then be given to the laboratory for testing.

This procedure usually takes about 5-10 minutes. In most cases, you will be cleared to leave the clinic after the test has been performed.

It may take some time for an HIV test to detect the presence of the virus. Just because you have received a negative result from your first test does not mean that you do not have HIV. It is recommended that you receive a second test after the window period of your first test to confirm whether or not you have been infected. The window period is the timeframe when a test can accurately detect the presence of the HIV virus. For instance, the window period for a nucleic acid test is 10-30 days. If you receive a negative result from this test, it is recommended that you receive a second test after that 30 day period.

If you have taken a second test after the window period of your first test and have received negative results, it is likely that you do not have HIV. During this time, you should abstain from unprotected sexual contact or sharing needles and syringes. This can reduce your risk of contracting or spreading the virus while you are waiting for your diagnosis.

If you have received a positive result from your test, your doctor may order a second test to definitively confirm that you have been infected with the HIV virus. These tests include:

- Viral load test: Also known as an HIV RNA test, this test measures the levels of the virus in your blood. This test can help determine how long you have been infected and monitors the efficacy of early-stage HIV treatment.

- CD4 T Cell Count: CD4 T Cells attack the HIV virus in the blood. When the count of these white blood cells drops below 200, the HIV virus has begun to develop into AIDS.

If you have been diagnosed with HIV, or suspect you may have been exposed to the virus, it is important that you inform your recent sexual partners so that they can begin treatment too. Even if your partner exhibits no signs or symptoms, it is very likely that they have also been infected, and require treatment. While these can be uncomfortable conversations to have, keeping your sexual partners informed can help them detect the disease early and treat the condition with maximum efficacy.

In order to protect the sexual health of both individuals, sexual partners should get tested before they start having sex. Because STDs can live in a person for years without any symptoms, it's never a bad idea to get tested. Using protection - like condoms, for example - can also reduce the likelihood that you or your partner may contract an STD.

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