When to Get STD Testing

Despite increasing awareness efforts over the past few decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that rates of infection for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia reached all-time highs in the United States in 2018.

These alarming statistics about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are cause for concern here at Tahoe Women’s Care, which is why we offer (and recommend) comprehensive STD testing. Under the direction of our OB/GYN, Dr. Gary Willen, our team can quickly screen you for infections, allowing you to avoid some of the serious consequences that come with untreated STDs.

Here’s a look at some general guidelines for who should be tested, what you should test for, and how often.

HIV

Since the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, we’ve learned a good deal about treating this very serious disease. As with many diseases, what we’ve found is that the earlier we can treat the infection, the better your outcome.

For this reason, and for your own peace of mind, we recommend that you test at least once for HIV between the ages of 13 and 64. 

Outside of this one-time testing, an HIV test is a good idea if you and your partner have decided to engage in unprotected sex. As well, if you have had sexual intercourse with someone who you know may be at risk, we recommend an HIV test.

Sexually active women

In 2018, there were 580,000 gonorrhea diagnoses, which is the highest number we’ve seen since 1991. As alarming, there were 1.7 million new cases of chlamydia, which is the highest number ever reported.

For this reason, we recommend that all sexually active women under the age of 25 test for both gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.

When these STDs are detected early, we can not only take the steps necessary to clear the infection, you can avoid infecting others.

Pregnant women

While we don’t provide obstetrics care here at our practice, we want every pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible, which includes comprehensive STD screening. The threat here is for diseases that can be passed on to your unborn child, such as congenital syphilis.

From 2017-2018, the number of syphilis cases increased to 36% among women of childbearing age, and there was a 40% increase in congenital syphilis cases.

While syphilis is certainly a primary concern, we recommend that you also test for HIV and hepatitis B in early pregnancy. As well, if you’re considered at risk because of multiple sexual partners or other reasons, you should add chlamydia and gonorrhea to this list.

If, during your pregnancy, you engage in unprotected sexual activity, we recommend ongoing screening as needed.

If you need STD testing and your obstetrician doesn’t provide that service, we’re happy to help.

HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is incredibly common, and we routinely test for this type of infection during your regular wellness visits with the Pap test.

If you have any questions about STD testing, our nonjudgmental and compassionate staff is happy to give you some good guidance at our office in Carson City, Nevada. Simply contact us here to set up a consultation.

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