Even with the use of products and care, STDs still happen. Being screened for STDs, infections, and then being aware of what the new diseases are is part of your health plan. With basic testing, you can take responsibility for your own health. This is half of what is needed for a sexually active lifestyle- the other is choosing a partner with the same care of themselves.
Doctor or clinic?
There are many fine, wonderful physicians, free- or low-cost clinics and physician assistants out there. You need to be comfortable with the person you choose to assist you with your sexual health. You should be confident that they are trained, and that they will keep anything you share privately. Certain STDs, as well as other diseases and circumstances, cannot be kept completely confidential, but names and physical locations other than city are not shared nationally.
These people will help you, and share what they have been taught to help keep you healthy. And, if you do find yourself with an STD or infection, can provide medication and information for you and your partner to get back to being healthy. If it is preferred, you won’t even have to see each other while being treated.
When to get screened
You should be screened before having sex for the first time. Occasionally, this isn’t possible due to circumstances. But at the age of 13, or when you hit puberty, you should get your first screening. Yearly screening for STDs can slow down after age 64 unless you have one or more of these events:
- Have sex with a different person
- Use injected drugs
- Have sex without protection
- Become pregnant
- Have sex with someone of your gender outside of a steady relationship
- If you find you have had sex with someone who has an active STD
If you have any of these events, schedule a new test. If this is a result of you having sex unwillingly, you should report it- either at the clinic or to the police. This is for safety reasons: if you can’t face reporting it to a person, there are normally lines set up in major cities for anonymous reporting of crimes.
What they will look for
The tests will test you for the common STDs, as well as any other STDs that are common in your area. If the test comes back that you do have an STD, treatment options will be presented. This screening can be included in your yearly physical if you have a trusting relationship with your doctor. For females, this may include a pregnancy test if you wish.
Those using IV drugs – including insulin and cannot afford fresh needles – as well as hose having sex with people of their gender, or if you have sex with multiple people need to be tested more often. With the possibility of you or your partner not showing symptoms of a disease, you should be very careful.