Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that are passed through sexual intercourse or oral sex. It is important to be tested on a regular basis, especially if you have new or multiple sex partners, or if you recently found out you were pregnant. There are a variety of STDs that are tested for, including HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, hepatitis, herpes, and many others. As far as how often you should be tested, that depends on a number of circumstances. It is important to remember that if you are a woman, your doctor is probably not testing you for STDs during every pap smear. This is a common misconception. You need to ask for the tests specifically. For men and women, the following information can prove helpful.
STDs to Test For Annually
There are three types of STDs that you should be tested for at least once a year, or before you start a new sexual relationship with a new partner. This includes HIV, which is the virus that can lead to AIDS, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. These are highly contagious diseases, and are among the most common STDs to contract and pass on to your partners.
STDs to Test For Regularly
If you are a woman, you will want to be tested for cervical cancer, another type of STD, regularly, though not necessarily yearly. A good way to remember to get this test is through a pap smear or gynelogical exam. You may not get this physical exam yearly, but are recommended to get it at least every couple years, or when you start becoming sexually active again.
STDs to Test For After Suspected Exposure
There are other STDs that you don’t need to be tested for unless you suspect you have been exposed to them. Generally, you are either showing symptoms of these diseases, or you have been sexually active with someone who later turned out to have the STD. This includes syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, genital herpes, bacterial vaginosis and chancroid.
STDs to Test For During Pregnancy
Lastly, some STDs are tested for during pregnancy. Your doctor probably ordered these tests during your first round of blood work, after verifying your pregnancy. They include HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and bacterial vaginosis. The reason you are tested for them is because you can pass on the infection to your baby. Some of them are tested during your first prenatal visit and during your third trimester, if you are considered high risk for these infections.
For more information on STD testing, you can talk with professionals who will give you your risk factors as well as get you tested for a baseline. Once that is done, you'll just need to be tested whenever you have new partners or if you are in contact with a suspected exposure.