Finding out you may have a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI) can be shocking, overwhelming, and terrifying. What would the symptoms be? Is it curable? How would you ever bring up the subject with new people you’d date?
The first thing you need to know is that one out of every two Americans will contract a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25. This means that even though you may feel isolated during this time, the reality is that STDs are very common and your doctor has seen them all. Therefore, there is no need to feel embarrassed about contacting a healthcare professional to get tested.
STD Testing After Potential Exposure
Many people with sexually transmitted diseases aren’t aware that they have an infection because a lot of STDs don’t present any symptoms initially. Therefore, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone in the following categories should get tested, regardless of whether they think they have been exposed or not:
- Everyone who is 25 or younger who is sexually active
- Anyone who has ever had unprotected sex
- Anyone who has multiple sex partners
- Anyone who has a new sex partner
- Anyone who has been sexually assaulted
- Anyone who’s had sex with a sex worker
- Anyone who has sex with anonymous partners
- Anyone who has shared needles to inject drugs
When do STD symptoms start to appear?
Generally speaking, if you fall into any of the categories listed above, you should get tested once a year. Granted, if you’ve recently found out that a former sexual partner has a sexually transmitted disease, you should get tested sooner. However, the answer is not the same for every STD, since some signs of infection may take longer to show up for some conditions than for others. For example:
- Gonorrhea and chlamydia may be detected after two weeks
- Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV could take between six weeks and three months
- Syphilis may take between one week and three months
- Herpes may take up to two weeks for it to show in test results
- Trichomoniasis may take up to a month to show up in test results
Common Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
While symptoms may vary from person to person and depending on the disease, the following are some of the most common symptoms of an STD or STI:
- Green, yellow, or gray discharge
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Itching or burning sensation
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pain while urinating
- Abdominal pain
Contact us at OB-GYN Women’s Center
At OB-GYN, we aim to establish trusting relationships with our patients. If you believe you may have a sexually transmitted disease, don’t be afraid to ask for testing. We want to help you.