STD Alert: When In Doubt, Get Tested

One of the ongoing problems with the impact of sexually transmitted diseases and infections is the shocking degree of ignorance which still abounds on this subject. You would think this would not be the case with the proliferation of information sources available online. Sadly, there is still reluctance to discuss these subjects like mature adults, or to teach sexual health and safety in many schools. Also, as much misinformation as true and accurate information is published online. This has made the control of these diseases a more complicated endeavor than it should be.

The Center for Disease Control has reported increases in new cases for the Big 3 STDs: Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis. These and other infections contracted through unprotected sexual activity have been responsible for a rise in patients suffering these conditions to their highest levels since 2006. Among other statistics cited in public health surveys and advisory reports, 42% of those diagnosed with syphilis also test positive for HIV as well. As much as 20 million new cases of STD infection are diagnosed annually.

Over half of all new cases reported each year are those involving teens and young adults, all between ages 15 and 24. Four out of every ten teens fail to use condoms or other forms of protection while sexually active. Of all OECD countries reporting statistics on sexual health, the United States has the highest STD rate in the developed world. And the CDC thinks it likely that STD/STI cases are going to become an even bigger public health problem in the next few years.

For these and many other reasons, getting tested is imperative. As the cliche goes, you end up sleeping with every partner your current partner has ever been with. What makes this a particularly pernicious problem is that the most common STDs either exhibit no symptoms at all or ones which mimmic other diseases which are relatively benign. Now, practicing safe sex by using protection and limiting oneself to monogamy can greatly reduce the likelihood of contracting an infection. But one can never be certain if an infection wasn’t contracted from a previous partner or if a prospective new partner might be unknowingly infected. This is why everyone about to enter into a new relationship should follow a simple maxim: when in doubt, get tested. And for more information on this subject, click here.