What is Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STDs)?
STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are diseases that are transmitted most commonly through sexual contact. Although different STDs have different methods of transmission, many are highly contagious and most people will have an STD of some sort during their lifetime. Right now, the CDC reports an average of 19 million cases of STDs each year in the United States. The rate of STD transmission is so high because many STDs have few to no symptoms. This means, many people don’t get tested and continue passing on an STD without knowing it.
How STDs Are Transmitted
Although STDs are most commonly transmitted through sexual contact, some STDs can be transmitted by simple skin-to-skin contact. Other routes of transmission include IV drug needle sharing, transmission to an unborn child during pregnancy, and even through breastfeeding. Although many STDs are highly contagious and easily spread, STDs are NOT spread on toilet seats or through normal day-to-day, non-sexual contact with others.
What About Oral Sex?
Although vaginal and anal sex are the most common methods of transmission for many STDs, it is possible to transmit certain STDs through oral sex. Although the the risk of transmission is low, HIV and herpes are among the STDs that have been shown to be transmitted via oral sex. Additional factors such as sores on the vagina and penis, oral contact with menstrual blood, other STDs, and bleeding gums can increase the risk of transmission orally.
Common Symptoms of STDS
Although each STD may have it’s own, unique symptoms, the most common symptoms for STD in general include:
- few to no symptoms or vagina
- Itching of the genitals (especially inside the penis)
- Green, white, yellow, or brownish discharge from the vagina
- A strong odor from the vagina
- Pain while urinating
- Pain during intercourse
- Low grade fever or mild flu-like suymptoms
- Rash or sores on the genitals
When You Should Consider STD Testing
If you have any of the common symptoms of STDs, you should consider testing. Of course, many STDs don’t have symptoms, so you should consider testing if you engage in unprotected sex, or you’ve recently begun having sexual relations with a new partner even with no symptoms present. It’s also advisable to get tested at least once per year for STDs if you’re sexually active (even without risky behaviour or symptoms of an STD).
The Benefits Of Early Testing
There are many benefits to testing, even if you don’t show symptoms. When you catch an STD early, there are often many STD treatment options available. In fact, many STDs are easily treated with simple antibiotics. Early identification of an STD infection also prevents you from spreading the infection to other sexual partners.
When it comes to testing for STDs, you have a number of options. You can get tested through your own physician, a sexual health clinic, or through an online testing provider like ValleySTD.
There are pros and cons to the various testing methods. Although you may be most familiar with your primary physician, you may find yourself waiting several days to get in for an appointment. Sexual health clinics may be able to see you right away, but you might still find yourself waiting for hours at the clinic depending on how many people are there to get tested or receive other services.
With online testing services like ValleySTD.com, you can order your test online, get tested the same day, and in most cases get your results within a day or two. More and more people opt for testing this way because it’s completely anonymous, it’s affordable, and you can get tested within minutes, instead of waiting hours or days.
Regardless of the testing method that you choose, if you think you’ve been exposed to an STD or you haven’t been tested in a while, the most important thing is that you get tested as soon as possible.
How Testing Works
Most modern STD tests are fairly fast and painless. Depending on what you’re testing for, in most cases, all that’s required is a small urine or blood sample. Those samples are then sent to the lab for analysis. When using a service such as ValleySTD.com, the results are fast, and are available within 1-2 days. With other testing methods, results can sometimes take up to a week.
Summing It All Up
Although STDs are highly contagious and most people will be affected by an STD at some point in life, the good news is that most STDs are 100% treatable. If you haven’t been tested recently, or you have any of the common STD symptoms, the most important thing is that you get tested. So many people put off testing and put their health or the health of others at risk. When you get tested, you’ll know for sure. Results with modern STD tests are highly accurate, and can have complete peace of mind when you get your results.