Many of us associate April with blooming flowers and beautiful weather, but did you know it’s also National Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Awareness month? While sometimes viewed as an uncomfortable topic, it’s important to keep the conversation going about these health issues, along with ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Here’s some guidance about STIs, and tips for sexual health.
Should You Get Checked?
Common STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital herpes, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis. All of these can be serious if left undiagnosed and untreated. But, the good news is that there are treatment methods for all of them if detected early enough.
As such, the best thing you can do for your own sexual health is to undergo STI testing once every year if you are sexually active. (According to the National Coalition of Sexual Health) If it’s been longer than that since you were last screened for sexually transmitted infections, then it’s time to do it again. Other recommended times to get tested are prior to becoming sexually active (after a period of abstinence), when you’ve been with a new partner or had unprotected sex with multiple partners or when you’re experiencing unusual symptoms (e.g. genital discharge, itchiness, bumps, etc.).
How To Get Tested
Many people avoid testing for STIs because they’re either scared of what they may find or embarrassed to go through the process of getting screened. Fear is normal, but remember that the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections from becoming more serious is to detect them early and treat them immediately. The longer you wait, the more likely your health is to suffer, so don’t let fear make you procrastinate.
As far as embarrassment goes, there’s no need to head somewhere public to get screened. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are accessible at-home test kits ready for use. Your patients can conduct their own tests discreetly and privately in their own home, wherever they live, and send them away for quick results. Check out Molecular Testing Labs’ list of available at-home STI tests to learn more.
When it comes to sexually transmitted infections, awareness is key. Whether it’s time for you to be screened for STIs, or you’re interested in offering at-home test kits to your patients, contact us any time to get started.