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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a significant public health concern that affects millions of people around the world and can have severe consequences for a person’s health, relationships, and overall well-being. Many STIs can be asymptomatic, meaning that individuals may be unaware they are infected and inadvertently spread the infection to others. This underscores the importance of regular testing, which is essential for early detection and treatment. By getting tested regularly, individuals can take control of their sexual health, make informed decisions, and engage in safer sexual practices.


Things to Consider Before Your STI Test 


  1. Sexual Activity: It’s essential to evaluate your sexual activity when deciding how often you should get tested for STIs. If you have had multiple sexual partners or new partners, it is important to get tested more frequently to help ensure that any potential infections are detected and treated early. It’s also important to remember that while using protection can reduce your risk of contracting STIs, it’s not foolproof. So, even with protection, regular testing is recommended to catch any infections that might have been transmitted. 
  2. Health History: It’s also important to know your health history when considering STI testing. A history of STIs can increase your vulnerability to future infections, making regular testing even more critical. This is especially true if previous infections were not entirely resolved. It’s also important to know your partner’s sexual health history, as their STI status has a direct impact on your own risk. Knowing if your partner has been tested recently and their results can help you make informed decisions about your sexual health.
  3. Type of Activity: Different sexual activities carry different levels of risk for STIs. Understanding the different levels of risk can help you make informed decisions about how often to get tested.


STI Testing Recommendations 


Every woman should be tested for STIs at least yearly in order to ensure early detection and treatment in the event that she contracts an infection. Regular testing helps identify infections that may not show symptoms, allowing for timely intervention and reducing the risk of unnecessary complications. Early detection is crucial for maintaining reproductive health and preventing the spread of infections to sexual partners. By making STI testing a routine part of healthcare, women can take proactive steps to protect their overall well-being.

There are also different reasons why a woman should get tested more often than yearly. For example, if a woman has multiple sexual partners, has been directly exposed to an STI, has had unprotected sex with a new partner, or has engaged in other high-risk sexual behaviors, she should consider more frequent testing. These situations increase the likelihood of contracting an STI, and regular testing helps catch infections early. Any woman who has present symptoms, such as abnormal vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding, pain during urination, itching, or sores, should be tested immediately. 


Next Steps


It is important to have an open, honest conversation with a medical provider about your sexual health history in order to determine the best testing schedule and preventative measures for your individual needs. At A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic, we believe that every woman should be educated about sexual health and the risks involved when engaging in sexual activity. If you are experiencing symptoms or want to take the next steps to protect yourself, give us a call today to schedule an appointment for free testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. You may also qualify for expanded testing through our free Well Woman’s Program! Call the location that’s most convenient today and make an appointment today!

Author—Caitlin Drakos, BSN. RN. Director of Medical Services at A Womans Place Medical Clinic