According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 20 million people are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) every year. Despite the alarming number of cases, many people don’t get tested. Not getting tested or treated for an STD puts your health at risk.
STDs are especially harmful to women. The CDC reports that undiagnosed STDs lead to infertility in as many as 24,000 women every year. To protect your health, the women's health experts at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville offer STD testing and want you to know who needs to get tested and how often you should get tested.
STD testing basics: Who and when?
At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville, we may conduct STD testing during your annual well woman exam. What we test for may depend on your age and sexual activity.
All women ages 16-64 should get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at least once during their lifetime. We may suggest more frequent testing depending on your sexual activity.
If you’re sexually active, have a new sexual partner, have multiple partners, or your partner has an STD, we recommend annual testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
We also conduct STD testing during pregnancy. At the start of your pregnancy, we test for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis. We may also test for gonorrhea and chlamydia if you’ve engaged in sexual activity that puts you at risk of contracting these common STDs.
Don’t wait for symptoms
While there are set guidelines for STD testing, you may still wonder whether it’s something you need to worry about. STDs are common and if you’re sexually active, you’re at risk. And you shouldn’t put off testing if you don’t have symptoms. Most STDs develop without causing symptoms, but may still have a significant effect on your health.
If you had unprotected sex, have a new sexual partner, have multiple sexual partners, or have concerns you may have been exposed to an STD, then you need to contact Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville and schedule your STD testing. Depending on your needs, we may test for the most common STDs, including:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
We may be able to test for some of these STDs with a urine or blood test or a mouth swab. However, we may also need to conduct a pelvic exam and collect cells or samples of any genital secretions to confirm or rule out a specific STD.
When it comes to protecting your health, getting tested for STDs is the first step. If your test results are positive, our women’s health experts at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville can provide the most appropriate treatment.
For many common STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, we can clear up your infection with an antibiotic. There are no cures for HIV or HPV, however, but we can provide medical care to help manage the infection and your health.
We also recommend the HPV vaccine to protect you from this common STD. Certain strains of HPV increase your risk of cervical cancer, and the vaccine protects you from these strains. It’s recommended that all women up through age 26 receive the vaccine. The FDA also recently approved the HPV vaccine for women ages 27-45, and we can discuss the benefits of getting the vaccine if you fall into this age group.
STDs are common and can be detrimental to your health. To talk to one of our compassionate providers about getting tested, contact the Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville and schedule an appointment. Call today at 904-398-1202.