If you are sexually active you should get screened for STDs – how often, and which tests will depend on your own personal habits. STD detection is important and fortunately, most STDs are curable and/or treatable. Use this information to educate yourself about STDs and drop into our urgent care Los Angeles facility to get tested for free.
What Are STDs?
STDs are viral or bacterial infections that are transferred through semen, blood or vaginal discharge. They can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact during sexual contact. The pathogens that cause STD thrive in moist, warm environments, particularly near the mouth, throat, anus, and genitals. It is common to not have any symptoms even though you may be infected; therefore, it is important to get tested regularly and that can be done at our urgent care Los Angeles facility. The number one reason to get tested is to protect yourself and your partner.
The Most Common STDs
- HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the most common STI in the United States and manifests as genital warts, though they do not always appear in those that are infected. HPV is easily transmitted and highly contagious.
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhea symptoms don’t often appear in women, so it is especially crucial for women to be tested. They are transmitted through anal, genital, or oral contact with an infected person.
- Herpes comes in two forms, Type 1 and 2. Type one is associated with oral herpes, also known as cold sores. Type 2 is associated with genital herpes but can be caused by type 1. Be aware that herpes can be transmitted even when no symptoms are present. Take extra precautions as it often results in painful sores near the genitals, anus, or mouth.
- HIV is a viral infection that is transmitted from person to person through blood or through unprotected anal or vaginal sexual encounters.
- Syphilis is a bacterial infection. It is passed on to another person via genital, oral, or anal contact by those with painless but infectious sores.
- Hepatitis B and C are viral infections that are commonly passed from person to person through blood. It can also be transmitted via skin exposure, like sharing needles, or contact with a sore or open wound. Hepatitis B can also by transmitted through semen. Both can cause chronic liver disease or liver cancer.
When To Get Tested
Before getting tested talk you’re your healthcare provider and discuss your lifestyle and risks. From there, you can decide when and what to get tested for since tests can be expensive, require different methods and manifest themselves at different times after exposure.
The following instances are reasons to get tested:
- If you are sexually active. Even if you’ve only been involved with one partner and always practice safe sex. Everyone should be tested for HIV. Women, especially, should especially get tested for chlamydia or gonorrhea because they can be infected without having any symptoms.
- You’ve had, are having, or want to have unprotected sex.
- If you have symptoms, talk to your doctor so he or she can help you decide what test to take according to those symptoms.
- If you are involved in a riskier relationship, for example, you’re in an open relationship or your partner has a long-term or chronic infection. It is important to get tested regularly, generally every 6 months.
- If you participate in risky sexual behavior, such as you are an IV drug user, have come in contact with a sex worker, have multiple or anonymous partners.
Signs of Infection
You may have fallen victim to the dangerous myth that you would just know if you or your partner were infected. Unfortunately, most STDs don’t show symptoms during the early stages and some are so mild that they are dismissed or mistaken for something else. An undiagnosed and untreated STD can have seriously long-term damage, especially in women. Common symptoms of STDs are vaginal discharge, genital itching or sores, burning during urination or strange color or odor, and abdominal pain.
About Vermont Urgent Care
Vermont Urgent Care is a premier urgent care facility in Los Angeles that now offers STD testing and other sexual health services. Learn more by visiting their website or following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.