Sexually transmitted infections affect people of all ages and backgrounds with about 20 million new cases in the U.S. each year. Condom Awareness Month presents a great time to get tested with your partner before the Valentine’s Day weekend and to choose to use some form of protection to avoid infection as recommended by the CDC.
How to Prevent STIs
According to the CDC, anyone who is sexually active can get an STI. Some groups are more affected by STIs including adolescents, young adults, pregnant women, and infants. The good news is that STIs are preventable and these are some ways to avoid getting or giving an STI:
- Practice abstinence
- Use condoms
- Have fewer partners
- Get vaccinated
- Talk with your partner
- Get tested and start treatment immediately if positive
The Facts on Getting Tested
If you are sexually active, getting screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your sexual partners. The CDC recommends the following:
- All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
- Sexually active women younger than 25 years of age should be screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
- Women 25 years and older with risk factors (having a new sex partner, more than one sex partner, a sex partner with concurrent partners, or a sex partner who has an STI) should be screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
- Pregnant women should be screened for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.
- All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently.
- Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent HIV testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).
- Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.
Getting Tested with GenPath Women’s Health
At GenPath Women’s Health, a division of BioReference Laboratories, we offer a convenient list of tests that can provide your healthcare provider with timely results for multiple infections from easy-to-collect samples. These tests allow you to be aware of your status, actively treat infection, and potentially avoid further complications, including risks related to undiagnosed or untreated infections if you are expecting a baby. Make sure to have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history with your healthcare provider to determine whether you should be screened for STIs.
If you are a healthcare provider, click here to become a client so you can begin ordering STI and other tests.