While education efforts covering sexual health have ramped up over the last few decades, the sad truth is that half of all sexually active young men and women contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25 and that there are 20 million new cases each year. These numbers are despite the fact that there are some effective ways to protect yourself against contracting an STD, and the long-term consequences they can bring. Through protection efforts and regular testing, you can stay one step ahead of STDs.
At Forest Urgent Care, we provide our patients in Forest Hills and Hunters Point, Long Island City, New York, with the tools they need to ensure that they’re in the best possible health. From minor emergencies to testing services, our practice is designed to handle most of your everyday health care needs. And one of the best ways to to manage your health is through regular preventive care, such as STD testing.
Here’s a quick look at who should be tested for STDs, and how often.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
Despite awareness efforts, the rates of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea have reached new highs in recent years, with syphilis doubling and gonorrhea up by 67%. These diseases can lead to health complications if left untreated, especially for women who can encounter problems with pelvic inflammatory disease as well as fertility and/or pregnancy issues.
To avoid these consequences, we recommend that sexually active women under the age of 25 be tested annually for chlamydia and gonorrhea and pregnant women of all ages be tested for all three.
For women over the age of 25, you should still undergo regular testing if you meet certain risk factors, including:
- Multiple sexual partners
- Unprotected sex
- New sexual partners
There are no testing guidelines for men, but if you know you’ve been exposed, a quick and easy test gives you the information you need to treat your own infection early and prevent spreading it to others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all men and women ages 13-64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lives. If you fall under certain risk groups, however, you should have us test you more frequently. These risk factors include:
- Intravenous drug use
- Unprotected sex
- Men having sex with men
- Known partners with HIV
The HIV test provides valuable peace of mind and is well worth the simple blood test.
Hepatitis B and C
While these infections share the same name, the testing recommended for each is different. The CDC recommends that all pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B as a matter of course.
Anyone who has HIV should be tested for hepatitis B, as well as anyone who engages in drug use and men who have sex with men.
When it comes to hepatitis C, anyone who uses needles should be tested, as well as anyone with HIV.
While the number of STDs to keep track of may seem daunting, we’re here to simplify the entire process. Simply come on in and sit down with one of our caring health care providers and they help you come up with the best testing schedule for your unique situation. Just call or use the online scheduling tool to get started.