STDs and STIs
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs) are on the rise in Iowa. More than half of Americans will contract an STD in their lifetime—most of them before the age of 25.
There is no harm in coming in for a quick screening. In just a few days, you will have peace of mind knowing that you are either STD/STI-free or getting the best treatment as quickly as possible.
The good news? The earlier you get tested, the better. If you have any concerns, get tested.
Chlamydia—the most common STD
Risk: Chlamydia is the most common STD. About 1.7 million cases were reported in 2017, according to the CDC and almost half of those cases were young women from 15 to 24 years old.
Chlamydia is spread easily because initially it causes almost no noticeable symptoms. Often it is spread unknowingly. In its early stages, testing is the only way to truly know whether you have this STD. The first symptoms people tend to notice is lower back or abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and/or abnormal spotting. Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to infertility in an estimated 20,000 women every year.
Treatment: Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics, administered both to you and your partner, so that you will not become re-infected. Symptoms should lessen quickly after treatment. However, you are not out of the woods yet. Re-infection is common, according to the CDC. After the first round of antibiotics, OBGYN Associates will re-test you to determine whether you need additional treatment.
Risk: 70,000 Americans are diagnosed with gonorrhea each year and an estimated 70,000 more go undiagnosed. This STD has become less common over recent years. Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is most commonly spread among young people under 30 years old.
Symptoms vary from person to person. Men might notice symptoms after only a few days while women might notice symptoms as long as a month after becoming infected. Some of the top symptoms include pain or burning sensation when passing urine and vaginal discharge.
Treatment: Again, similar to chlamydia, gonorrhea is a bacterial infection treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, certain strains of gonorrhea have become resistant to antibiotics over time and women contact gonorrhea from an infected partner more frequently than men (50 percent for women versus only 20 percent of the time for men). Regular testing is important.
Risk: This STD is better known as “trich.” Trichomoniasis comes from a parasite, not a bacteria infection. About 3.7 million American have this infection, but only 30 percent develop symptoms, which makes testing especially important. An itching and/or burning sensation and discharge are most common for both women and men.
At worst, this infection can make it easier for the infected person to contract or pass on HIV. According to the CDC, pregnant women with trichomoniasis are more likely to deliver preterm or with low birthweight.
Treatment: After diagnosis, trichomoniasis can be treated with medication. Again, re-infection is common and you should come back for regular testing after initial diagnosis.
Who should get STD screenings…and how often?
All sexually active women under 25 years of age should consider being tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis every year. This can be scheduled to coincide with your annual exam. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a past sex partner who has had a confirmed STD should also be tested for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis every year.
All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B in the early stages of pregnancy. At-risk pregnant women should also be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis starting early in pregnancy. Testing should be repeated as needed to protect the health of the expectant mother as well as her baby.
If you think you might have an STD or if you have a new sexual partner, contact us for a judgement-free screening and keep your sex life happy and healthy!