According to OBGYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim, in order to keep your sexual health in check, you need to make an effort beyond just using condoms. If you’re sexually active, it’s your responsibility to get tested on a regular basis, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.
But according to new research, there’s a problem with the way women are being screened for STIs. Instead of women being taught that they need to get screened for STIs in between their Pap tests, they’re basically being told it’s fine to just wait until their next Pap test, even if they’re the sexually active.
Because you need to make your sexual health a priority, your OBGYN Montgomery County is sharing six things you need to know about STI screenings.
- You must request an STI screening. Just because you’re getting a Pap doesn’t mean you’re automatically being tested for STIs – you have to ask your OBGYN to do it.
- Women’s STI screening is different from men’s. If you want to be tested for everything, you need to communicate that to your OBGYN. Studies show that women are less likely to be screened for syphilis, hepatitis C and HIV. While these particular STIs are more common in gay males, women can still contract them, so make sure you tell your OBGYN Montgomery County exactly what you want to be screened for.
- STI screenings are easier than you might think. If you’re afraid of needles or invasive procedures, then you can relax, because the most common STIs – chlamydia and gonorrhea – don’t involve either. Self-administered swabs and urine tests are highly accurate for detecting STIs, so making sure you have a clean bill of health has never been easier.
- There are different tests for different STIs. Not every test instantly detects any and all STIs, so while a swab or urine test can detect more than one STI, the way the test is processed is the only way you can know what you have or, ideally, don’t have. If you think you’ve been exposed to gonorrhea, you need to be honest with your OBGYN regarding what you want to be tested for.
- You don’t have to experience symptoms to get tested. While symptoms are a good sign that something is wrong, if you’re sexually active you shouldn’t be waiting for symptoms to appear to tell you it’s time to get tested. Your OBGYN Montgomery County warns that sometimes there are no symptoms, which is a really scary thought. So don’t wait until your next Pap test – if you’re having a lot of sex – especially with a lot of partners – get tested. You not only owe it to yourself, but to every partner you sleep with.
- STI screenings can help keep STI occurrence rates down.
According to the CDC, regular STI tests help to reduce the spread of STIs and occurrence rates down. You can do that by getting tested at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. For those who are high risk – like injection drug users or those who just don’t use condoms – you should be tested every three to six months. Everyone between the ages of 13 and 65 be tested at least once for HIV.
While we may never live in a world free of STIs, we can at least take care of our own sexual health by getting screened regularly. Have you been screened for STIs lately? If not – don’t hesitate – call the office of OBGYN Montgomery County Dr. Rania Ibrahim today to schedule a confidential appointment.