STD screening can be a confusing topic for many. For anyone who is sexually active, getting tested for STDs should be part of your regular health screening to protect yourself.
People often only get tested when they show symptoms, or if they have had recent new sexual partners whose health or infection status they are unsure about. However, individuals who are asymptomatic and with no specific sexual exposures of concern should still undergo routine STD screening.
Here are some of the screening recommendations suggested by the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).
|Who||Recommended testing||Recommended interval|
|All adults between ages 13-64||HIV screening||At least once in lifetime|
|All sexually active women under 25||Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing||Annual|
|All sexually active women 25 and above||Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing||If you have had new partners|
If you have had multiple partners
If your partner has had an STD
|All pregnant women||Syphilis, Hepatitis B and HIV testing|
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea testing if you may be at risk of these
|Early in pregnancy and repeated as required|
|All sexually active MSM (men who have sexual intercourse with men)||Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis testing|
|At least annually|
More frequent testing (e..g 3-6 monthly intervals) is recommended for individuals with multiple partners or partners whose infection status’ they are unsure of
|HIV testing||3 to 6 monthly|
|Anyone who has had unsafe/unprotected intercourse||HIV testing||At least annually|
The above general recommendations detail the minimum sexual health testing that one should undertake as part of one’s routine screening. The types of tests recommended ultimately depend on your individual situation and symptoms.
If you have any reason to believe or be concerned about exposure to any STDs, or if you are having symptoms suggestive of an STD, a more thorough screen may be warranted. If you wish to find out more about STD screening, you can have an open conversation with your doctor about your sexual history and any possible concerns or symptoms you may have. Your doctor will then be able to best advise you on what relevant screening you can undergo.
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