Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a common occurrence in many sexually active adults. The stigma surrounding STDs and STD testing leaves many people undiagnosed, untreated, and continues the spread of the disease. Preventing the spread of STDs is the best way to manage the epidemic, but how can you be a part of that prevention?
STD screening is the first step towards preventing the spread of the disease. An STD screening will test you using either a swab, urine test, or blood test. This test scans your body for all possible STDs. You should be tested each time you have a new partner, engage in unprotected sex, or notice symptoms of a possible STD. You should encourage all of your sexual partners to get tested regularly as well, especially if they have other partners at the same time.
If your STD screening comes back with a positive result, you need to be treated. Most STD’s can be treated quickly and easily with a round of antibiotics. You should inform all recent sexual partners about your positive result so they can get tested and receive treatment as well. If you know you have an STD, you should not engage with any new sexual partners until you’re cleared of the disease. If you have an incurable STD, inform all partners before engaging in intercourse.
Preventing STDs is the best way to manage them. There are multiple ways to prevent STDs. Some of those ways include:
- Monogamy – mutual monogamy with your partner, means the two of you are only engaging in sex with one another. By reducing the number of outside parties, the risk for an STD drops drastically.
- Abstinence – choosing to abstain from sex is the only guaranteed way to avoid an STD. Abstinence means no anal, oral, or vaginal sex. If you’re engaging in oral sex but not actual intercourse, you’re still at risk and need to receive STD testing.
- Safe Sex – you should use condoms with all of your sexual partners to prevent the spread of STDs.
- Vaccinations – some STDs, including hepatitis B and HPV, have preventative vaccinations available. Talk with your doctor about receiving the vaccination to lower your risk of STDs.
STDs are a common problem, but they aren’t commonly talked about. Have an open discussion with all of your sexual partners before engaging in intercourse and discuss their most recent test results. Asking shouldn’t be seen as offensive, it’s simply a smart way of protecting yourself!