Four reasons to ask your OB-GYN about STD testing
Do I need to be tested for STDs? You may be hesitant to bring up the topic. However, testing for sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs or STIs) can be an important part of your well-being. Here are four reasons why you should talk to a board-certified OB-GYN.
Find out the right tests for you
Many women are unsure about what tests they need or how often they need them. By asking your OB-GYN, you can get expert advice. He or she is there to help you navigate the best screenings for you.
Factors that may affect your STD screening needs include:
- Relationship status
- Multiple partners
- History of unprotected sex
- History of STDs
- Trying to become pregnant
- Currently pregnant
STD testing is simple
Getting tested for STDs may be easier than you think. You can typically complete STD testing all in one visit. And it usually involves quick tests like taking a sample of blood, a swab, or urine tests.
While there are more than 20 different STDs, the American Sexual Health Association lists these as some of the most common tests:
- Gonorrhea and chlamydia: urine test and/or genital swab
- Herpes: blood test, as well as a swab if you have symptoms
- Trichomoniasis: a swab or sample of fluid
- Syphilis: blood test, as well as sample if you have symptoms
- HIV: blood test or a mouth swab
You may not have symptoms
Not every STD immediately causes symptoms. It’s actually common for an STD to go unnoticed for a while. But it could still be affecting your health. That’s why it’s important to talk with your OB-GYN even if you feel fine.
For example, the majority of women who have chlamydia do not have any symptoms, according to the CDC. However, if it’s left untreated, it can cause damage to your reproductive organs.
Another example is trichomoniasis. The CDC says as many as 70% of people don’t show any signs. If it isn’t treated, it’s linked to a higher risk of getting other STDs.
Most STDs are treatable
The good news is that your OB-GYN can treat most STDs. Bacteria cause conditions like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. These conditions may only need antibiotics. Other STDs are caused by viruses—like herpes. While they can’t be completely cured, antiviral medications can help control them.
No matter the cause, the sooner you get treated, the less likely you’ll have long-term concerns. And the less likely you are to spread your condition to others.
So, next time you visit your OB-GYN, don’t be afraid to ask about testing. It will not only benefit your health but the health of others too.