No one really likes to think of STDs. Safe sex just seems so boring, and there are people who think that getting tested means you’re promiscuous. The truth is that regular STD testing is super important, even if you’re monogamous, but participate in other “risky” behaviors. Aside from that, the idea that promiscuity puts you more at risk than someone who’s only had sex with one or two partners is ridiculous, too – it’s not the number of sexual partners that makes a difference, but whether you’re being careful enough.
Most people know the usual “warning signs” of a sexually transmitted disease, as well as the basic precautionary measures – whether we actively practice safer sex or not. But there could be diseases and infections that don’t show symptoms, that can still be passed onto someone else.
More than just that, your doctor probably isn’t actually checking for everything, even if you say check me for everything. Often, certain diseases aren’t tested for unless specifically requested. These are things that are less common, but that doesn’t make them any less serious. When in doubt, ask your doctor – he or she will help you to make a more informed decision.
Even if you don’t show any symptoms, there are a few diseases you should always ask to be checked for anyway.
Most people who have chlamydia don’t show any symptoms, and the symptoms that are present often go unnoticed. If you haven’t been checked in a while, it’s a good idea to ask.
For women, gonorrhea usually manifests without any symptoms, or as a sore throat (if it’s passed on through oral sex). Best to get a check-up, as both gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to fertility problems in the future!
It seems like this would be the one you definitely know you have, right? But because of the similarities in appearance between herpes, acne, and ingrown hairs, they’re often confused. Get checked every now and then.
HPV (or human papillomavirus) often starts off with little to no symptoms. However, it can turn into cervical cancer if it’s not caught early enough, so make sure you’re getting tested.
Unlike the other diseases on this list, syphilis is almost always foretold by sores. These might not actually be painful, though, so you might not think to get it checked out. If you’re worried, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Often goes without symptoms. If left untreated, it may develop into a urinary tract infection. If this is the first sign of the problem, there’s already a problem – get tested!
It can take up to six months for contact with genital warts to produce any new warts. If there is any question whether you had contact with genital warts, get checked – it could save you a lot of trouble in the future!
Here’s a scary one – the symptoms of HIV often don’t show up for days or even weeks, at which point they’re often mistaken for the flu. Even scarier, you can show false negatives for as long as six months after contact, which makes regular testing before having sex with any new partner super important.
It can take months for Hepatitis B symptoms to pop up, but that doesn’t make you any less contagious.
Chancroids (or genital sores) are often less painful in women, and often get overlooked because of this. You might not even notice them, especially if you’re used to shaving irritation.
The symptoms of scabies can take as long to six weeks to appear, and aren’t limited to sexual activities – you can get scabies from tall grass or hotel mattresses, too. The symptoms are often mistaken for skin contact allergies, or dermatitis, so doctors will want to check for “tunnels” in order to make a diagnosis.
If your pubes are particularly itchy, it might not be a rash, but pubic lice – which you’ll need a magnifying glass to see. Since most people don’t check their vaginas with a magnifying glass often, it’s best to get tested, just to make sure you’re not harboring any little critters.