We’ve declared March the time to focus on cleaning up your body and taking control of your health. This not only includes eating healthier, exercising more, and cluing yourself in to your health risk factors, but also monitoring your sexual health.
Sure, you may know why it’s important to get tested for STDs, but do you know when you should get STD testing? We’re sharing the details below.
When Should I Get STD Testing?
General Guidelines for STD Testing
Although there are specific guidelines for when men and women should be tested for individual STDs, there are also some general rules you can use to determine if you should get tested:
- If you’re sexually active, get STD testing. Even if you’ve only had one partner and use protection, you should be screened before entering a sexual relationship. All sexually active people should be tested for HIV, and women should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, since the symptoms of these STDs sometimes don’t manifest in women. Obviously, those in a monogamous relationship can get tested with less frequency than those who take on multiple sexual partners. If you are in an open or casual relationship, be sure to get STD testing every 6 months. Any time you start having a new sexual relationship, both partners should be tested.
- If you’ve had sex with a high-risk partner, get screened every 6 months. If you know that any one of your sexual partners has had an STD in the past, you should get tested with more frequency (every 6 months). Certain sexual relationships also carry a higher risk of infection than others. This includes relationships with IV drug abusers, sex workers, anonymous partners, and some men who have sex with men. If you engage in any of the above sexual relationships, you should get STD testing for HIV, hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia after your sexual contact.
- If you’ve been infected before, get screened 3 months after treatment. When you have had an STD in the past, it can resurface. The 3 month mark is a good time for STD testing as it can reveal how well your treatment went and whether any further treatment is needed.
- If you have symptoms, get screened immediately. Based on your symptoms and your sexual history, your health care provider will determine what STD testing is necessary or what else might be the root of your symptoms.
Specific STD Testing Guidelines
- Gonorrhea and chlamydia: get STD testing every year if you are a sexually active girl or woman under age 25, if you’re a woman 25+ who having sex with a new partner or multiple partner, or if you’re a man having sex with men.
- HIV, syphilis and hepatitis: according to the CDC, HIV testing should be done at least once for all those ages 13 – 64, and yearly for those at higher risk of infection, such as those with multiple partners, those who take injectable drugs, or men who have sex with men. If you test positive for chlamydia or gonorrehea, it is also a good idea to get STD testing for hepatitis, syphilis, and HIV.
- Herpes. if you or a sexual partner exhibit the symptoms of herpes, including a break out of genital warts, it’s time to get STD testing.
- HPV: because infection can only be diagnosed visually in men, women are the only ones who can receive STD testing for human papillomavirus, or HPV. Women 21 – 30 should get HPV testing every 2 years during their pap smears, while women 30+ who have had 3 consecutive normal pap smears can wait 3 years between their STD testing.
STD Testing You Can Trust
If it’s time for you to get STD testing, your local ARCpoint Labs can provide the quick, reliable service you need. Monitoring your sexual health has never been this easy — just visit our walk-in facilities, no appointment needed, and we can guide you through the STD testing process, whether you want a comprehensive STD panel or tests for specific infections.