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Who Should be Tested for STDs and How Often?

Despite the stigma, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are incredibly common. According to the World Health Organization, almost 1 million people across the globe develop a sexually transmitted disease each day. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell if you have an STD. Sometimes symptoms mirror those of other conditions (like yeast infections); sometimes symptoms don’t appear right away. With STD testing, you can get the answers you need and the treatment you need to halt your infection.  

An STD test not only provides you with answers, but it also helps prevent the accidental spread of STDs to your partner. Our team of OB/GYN physicians and certified nurse midwives at Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC recommend that you visit our office in Helena, Montana, if you’re due for a routine STD test.

Read on to learn more about the common testing schedules and possible next steps if you already have an STD.

Who needs an STD test?

The answer to this question is straightforward: Regardless of sexual history or sexual orientation, all sexually active individuals require STD testing. STD tests vary depending on what type of STD is suspected. Common tests include:

STD tests can detect a variety of STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis B, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), syphilis, and gonorrhea.

How often do you need an STD test?

This answer to this question is less straightforward, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided guidelines to help everyone get the testing they need. How often you need routine STD testing depends on a few factors. Your age and gender, your sexual orientation, your relationship status (i.e., monogamous or casual dater) and your pregnancy status all affect how often you need to get tested.

According to the CDC’s recommendations, the suggested testing schedules are grouped into one of three categories: annual, interval, or special circumstances.  

You might need annual testing if ...

The CDC suggests annual testing for chlamydia for all adults who meet the following criteria:

Of course, you may need more frequent testing if you have any concerning symptoms. 

You might need interval testing if ...

Interval testing is done on a frequent schedule such as every three or six months. You may benefit from interval testing if you: 

Not sure if interval testing is right for you? One of our understanding providers can discuss the benefits of interval testing during your appointment.

You might need special circumstance testing if ...

Even if you have regular, routine STD testing, you still might benefit from testing outside of those schedules. For instance, all expectant mothers receive STD testing as part of their routine prenatal care. You might also benefit from special circumstance STD screening before dating a new partner or if you suspect you may have an STD. 

Testing and Treatment

If you undergo a routine STD test and expect a negative result, you might be overwhelmed to learn you have an STD. If this occurs, remember that STDs are common and easily treated. Our team of providers can help you feel comfortable discussing your results and going over treatment options. If you do need treatment, we’ll guide you with the proper follow-up steps (courtesy of the CDC) to make sure your infection is successfully cleared.

At Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, we’re happy to provide comprehensive gynecologic care (including STD tests), and to answer concerns about your STD testing schedule. Call our 406-206-4217, or use our convenient online booking tool.

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