It may sometimes be unclear if you need to get a test, screening, or exam for a potential sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI). That is because contracting an STI doesn’t always lead to an STD.
Simply put, an STI is just the infection of a virus and doesn’t always lead to the development of symptoms and diseases. An STD is the full-blown disease after contracting an STI where symptoms are more visible to the host.
It may take weeks for certain STDs and their symptoms to manifest in the host, so it is critical to get your STD at the right time. Some STD symptoms may also be mistaken for pimples, urinary tract infection (UTI), or another non-STD related symptom, so you may need an STD screening accurately diagnose your condition.
So when is the right time for you to get an STD or STI test?
Get an STD test if you recently had unprotected sex with a partner
Unprotected sex is the highest risk factor for contracting a common STD or STI. Even if no symptoms are visible, seek out a primary or urgent care provider to administer an STD test.
An STD test can help your provider catch a bacteria or virus early on and begin treatment. Many common STDs are easily treatable when detected early. These STDs/STIs include:
- Genital Warts
- Pubic Lice
Having unprotected sex comes with several health risks. Early prevention and STD screening can increase the speed of treatment and help you manage your condition.
Get an STD test/screening if you are sexually active or unsure of a previous partners’ sexual/STD history
Sexually active adults may want to schedule an STD test if they are sexually active in general or are unsure of a past partner’s sexual activity.
Even adults that have protected sex or limit STD risk factors during intercourse can still contract an STD in other ways. For example, using needles for recreational drug use or other forms of contact with an infected individual’s blood.
In general, individuals should get an STD screening if they believe they made any form of transmissible contact with a person who carries the disease.
Getting an STD is critical to ensure that your medical health is in order since many STDs can lead to severe chronic conditions. Testing for an STD is quite common, and shouldn’t be considered a negative experience, as more than 65 million individuals in the US have an STD.
If you believe you may have an STD, get tested ASAP and find any necessary treatments. Regular screenings can help you lead a happy and healthy life with peace of mind.