Women, you may be familiar with the commonly-accepted STD screening recommendations. Well, get ready to learn some new guidelines — if the changes proposed by a recent federal task force are approved, soon women may be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea more than in the past.
Although no decisions have been finalized, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force seems poised to move their new recommendations forward to America’s physicians. Read more about the Force’s recent draft of STD screening recommendations below.
STD Screening Recommendations May Change
What Are the New Recommendations?
If approved, the new STD screening guidelines would recommend chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for sexually active girls and women age 12 up to age 24. Older women would be advised to seek testing for these diseases if they were at high risk — any time they have sex with a new partner, if engaging in sexual acts with multiple partners, if having sex with someone who has an STD, if they’ve been previously diagnosed, or if they exchange sex for money or drugs.
The Task Force hopes that the overall updated guidelines will simplify the previous recommendations which were issued in 2008. Specifically, the new gonorrhea and chlamydia guidelines are designed to help women who may have these STDs, but don’t show the initial symptoms.
Both relatively “silent” STDs, chlamydia and gonorrhea can have devastating long-term affects if not caught and treated. These include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and chronic pelvic pain. In 2011, US doctors reported 1.4 million cases of chlamydia and 800,000 gonorrhea infections.
These STDs are most prevalent among women and adolescents, with sexually active women 20 – 24 reporting the highest infections, and women 15 – 19 the second highest.
The Task Force isn’t recommending a change to men’s STD screening guidelines because symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea usually manifest in males, so they seek treatment more frequently.
What Do Health Professionals Think?
Health professionals have noted that the expanded STD screening guidelines are a step in the right direction, but that they fail to address additional screening for gay and bisexual men, who are at higher risk of STD infection. In these populations, gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to HIV infection — and more stringent STD screening guidelines could stop this progression.
Along with STD screening guidelines, the Task Force also suggested “intensive” counseling for at-risk STD patients, which could entail 2+ hours of group counseling. Some health care professionals questioned how they would have the time or insurance backing to accomplish this.
Accurate, Confidential STD Screening, Nationwide
We’ll see whether the new STD screening guidelines are passed. In any case, you can receive quick, reliable, and confidential STD screening at the walk-in ARCpoint Labs facilities located nationwide. We provide comprehensive STD screening panels as well as tests for individual infections, including chlamydia and gonorrhea.
To learn more about STD screening at ARCpoint Labs, find your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!