Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a fact of life, especially in the modern world. Every year in the United States, about 26 million new cases of STIs are reported. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately one in every five adults in the US has an STI.
An STI that causes symptoms is called an STD. Early stages of STIs often present no symptoms, which is why STI and STD tests should be part of your wellness routine if you’re sexually active.
When you notice strange or troubling symptoms on, in, or around your genitals, the sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you either get the treatment you need or, if you’re negative, peace of mind. Many STIs and STDs can be completely cured after being diagnosed.
At Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dr. Rafiq Mian and our team are sensitive to the sensitive nature of a possible STI or STD. We help you get the test and care you need to stay well and keep any partner safe, too.
Do you suspect you have an STD? Here’s what you should do.
Ignoring symptoms or pretending that you haven’t seen/felt/smelled what you just did does you no favors. Nor does it protect present or future partners. If you have an STD, getting treatment may prevent complications, possibly even cure your STD, and stop you from infecting others.
If you’ve never had an STD test before, you may feel nervous. That’s understandable. But remember, you have lots of company. If you’re in a crowded room right now, many of the people with you probably have or have had an STD.
An STD test is simple and fast
When you come in for an STD test, be assured that our atmosphere is private and safe. STD testing may consist of the following steps:
- Physical exam of genitals to check for lesions
- Genital swab
- Oral swab in throat
- Blood test
- Urine test
If you have lesions on your genitals, we also take swabs of those for the laboratory to analyze. In some instances, we may be able to tell if you have an STD during your exam. In most cases, you must wait a few days for your lab results.
Follow your treatment plan
If you’re negative for STDs, we encourage you to practice safer sex in the future. You should also incorporate annual STD testing into your wellness protocol. Of course, if you ever notice troubling symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us right away.
If you’re positive for an STD, we prescribe a treatment plan. If you have a bacterial infection, a simple course of antibiotics can completely cure it. However, you must be sure to take all of the medication, as prescribed, to kill the pathogens that caused the STD.
If you have a viral STD, we may prescribe antiviral medications. While these won’t cure your STD, they can help reduce the number of outbreaks you have and minimize your symptoms.
It’s common to have more than one STD. You may need to take a number of medications to manage your symptoms.
Practice safer sex
Whether you tested positive or negative for STDs, safer sex practices help keep you and any partner safer. Using condoms every single time you have intercourse is an essential preventive measure, no matter what form of birth control you use. No other contraception protects against STDs.
However, condoms aren’t a guarantee against getting or passing on an STD. Some STDs, such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), can be transmitted simply through intimate touch, such as fingering or even dry humping without clothes.
Stay alert to symptoms
As with all diseases and infections, catching an STD in its earliest stage makes it more manageable or more easily cured. Symptoms that could indicate you have an STD and should call us ASAP include:
- Thick or cheesy vaginal discharge
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Change in discharge color
- Itching or rash around vulva, vagina, or anus
- Lesions or blisters on or around genitals
- Blood in urine
- Pelvic pain
- Painful urination
- Spotting between periods
- Pain during sex
Have you noticed changes around your vulva, vagina, or anus? Get an STD test today by calling us or using our online form to book an appointment today.