Worried about having a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? By testing annually for STDs at your health visit, you’ll be empowered with information to keep you healthy and take control of health problems before they become serious.
Here’s information on the importance of routine testing and what you should tell your nurse practitioner before you’re screened.
Why Is STD Screening Important For Me?
Anyone who has unprotected sex with a partner who is not monogamous (only intimate with you) is at risk for an STD. As the name implies, sexually transmitted diseases are contracted through any type of sexual contact.
What Are Common STDs?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 12 million Americans test positive for STDs annually. One in five Americans currently have genital herpes infections, which are not curable, but manageable with medication and stress reduction.
Sadly, STD infection crosses socioeconomic, racial, age, and gender barriers. The CDC recommends routine STD testing starting at age 12 in sexually active individuals.
Besides genital herpes, here are common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Granuloma inguinale
What Should I Tell and Ask My Provider During My Annual STD Screening?
First of all, be open and honest with your nurse practitioner. They are not there to judge you but rather to keep you–and your partner(s)–healthy. Accordingly, tell your provider if you are sexually active, what kind of sex you engage in, and how many partners you have had since your last screening.
Also, say whether you have had an STD in the past, what kind it was, and the treatment you used.
Next, tell your provider if you are experiencing any symptoms of STDs. Many of these infections are asymptomatic. In other words, you may not feel sick in any way. However, common symptoms can include:
- Skin rashes and sores in the genital area
- Vaginal discharge
- Itching, burning, and pain in the genital area
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding not related to your menstrual period
- Weight loss
Finally, inform them if you are pregnant, suspect you may be pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future. Some sexually transmitted diseases can cause harm to an unborn baby, so make sure your clinician knows your pregnancy status or if you need a pregnancy test.
Here are some important questions to ask your provider:
- Should I ask my partners(s) to be tested?
- Do other members of my household with whom I am not intimate need testing?
- If I am positive, what treatment options do I have?
- Can STDs be cured?
- Whether or not I have a positive test, when should I be rechecked and how often?
Get The STD Information and Screening You Need in Kent, WA
At FamilyCare of Kent, our team of nurse practitioners provide helpful information about STDs and testing in Kent, WA. They’ll help you determine when you need testing and what treatments are best if you do test positive. As always, your health status is confidential.
Call us at (253) 859-2273 today for an appointment. Or, fill out our appointment request form on our website.