After decades of education and awareness efforts, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States are still alarmingly high. In 2021 alone, more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported.
One of the best ways to control the spread of STDs and to ensure your health is through regular testing. Here at Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and our team provide comprehensive testing services for STDs, and here’s what you should know.
STDs and women — a bad combination
As women’s health care providers, we want to emphasize that STDs can have a particularly large and negative impact on women. The STDs that we referenced above — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis — are the most common infections and the ones that can lead to certain health complications in women, including:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Tubal or ectopic pregnancy
- Congenital issues in children
Making matters more complicated, most women who are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea don’t develop any symptoms. This means that the infection can go untreated and only become evident when a more serious problem such as PID or infertility arises.
For this reason, and to stop the spread of STDs, it’s very important for women to be tested regularly.
Staying one step ahead of STDs
The good news is that STD testing is quick and easy, and we can accomplish the screening through blood and urine samples, as well as swabs.
If you’re sexually active, we follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for STD testing and recommend the following:
We recommend that you test for HIV at least once between the ages of 13 and 64. As well, all pregnant women should be screened for HIV. Beyond that, if you’ve been with partners whom you suspect may be infected, please err on the side of caution and come get tested.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia
Women under age 25 should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia each year. This annual screening should continue after the age of 25 if you have new or multiple partners or have sex with someone who has an STD.
If you become pregnant, we want to test for HIV, as we mentioned above. We also want to test you for syphilis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
Another reason that women come to see us for STD testing is when they and their partner are taking the next step in their relationship and doing away with protection (condoms). Before they take that step, they want a clean bill of health.
If you’re still unsure about what STD testing schedule is best for you, we invite you to come sit down with us to have an open and nonjudgmental conversation. From there, we can help you come up with a good protection plan that can help you avoid the complications of an STD.
To get started, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to set up a consultation.