Think STD testing is part of your regular doctor’s visit?
When you visit your doctor for an annual physical, STD testing is not usually a part of the process unless specifically requested.
Read on for a few more details on why this is such a danger.
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people need to get tested for gonorrhea, cervical cancer, and chlamydia on a regular basis, and should be tested for HIV at least once — more if they’re in an at-risk population.
Since many people operate under the assumption that their doctors will conduct this testing as part of their regular exams, many people go untested, leaving these STDs to spread when undetected. In fact, per a 2007 study, only 40% of sexually active women are regularly screened for chlamydia, an STD that should be tested for regularly. Since this STD can be asymptomatic, it’s crucial it is tested for.
The problem with not including STD tests in regular doctor’s visits is that thanks to the social stigmas associated with STDs, many patients are too embarrassed to ask their regular doctors about the possibility they may have an STD. This is especially the case for older individuals, teens, or individuals with long-term relationships with their doctors.
Misconception About At-Risk Populations
One reason doctors don’t regularly order STD tests for their patients? Some patients may not seem like they are in an at-risk population. Many men and women may not fit the mold physicians expect, especially if their patients are not open about their sexual lives. Again, the stigma associated with STDs may mean patients don’t disclose everything to their doctors, preventing the physicians from getting an accurate read of how at-risk thy are.