STD Tests: Why should you get tested?
Sometimes sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can feel like one of the last taboos. They’re unlikely to crop up as the topic of polite dinner party conversation, and you’re probably reluctant to discuss them with even your closest friends. So who can you turn to if you think you might have picked up an STD?
Here we’re examining some of the most common infections you might catch, the symptoms, and why and when you should get tested for an STD.
What are the most common STDs?
You’re probably familiar with the names, even if you’re a little vague about the symptoms, so you’ll be aware of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, HIV, hepatitis B, genital herpes, and HPV. The truth about STDs is that anyone can catch them. The stigma around them only exists because they’re not discussed often enough, but catching one doesn’t mean you’re ‘unclean’ or promiscuous, and millions of people around the world are diagnosed with them every year.
The most common STDs are picked up through sexual intercourse, whether it’s vaginal, anal, or oral, and men and women are equally at risk. STDs are common because the signs and symptoms are regularly missed or put down to other things, which means you may unknowingly pass the infection on.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary from illness to illness, but some things they almost all have in common are:
- changes in urination
- unusual discharge from the vagina, anus, or penis
- an itching or burning sensation around your genitals
- sores, bumps, or rashes
- pelvic or lower abdominal pain
- unusual bleeding
- painful sexual intercourse
Unfortunately, some cases can be asymptomatic, meaning you’ll notice none of the above. If you have no indication that you’re carrying an STD, then you’re more likely to pass it on to your partner without ever knowing you’ve done so.
While you may not have all the symptoms, you need to be on the lookout for any unusual changes to the genital area, your urination, and your menstrual cycle in the case of women. If something doesn’t feel right or you have even the slightest concern, then get tested straight away.
Who should get tested?
You should, of course, get tested for an STD if you notice any of the symptoms we’ve listed. You should also see a doctor and take a test if you’re pregnant or planning to start a family, if you’re beginning a new sexual relationship or if you or your partner have other sexual partners.
Old or young, male or female – anyone can be exposed to an STD, and infection rates are on the increase around the world.
The importance of testing
Remember, there is no shame in being tested for an STD, and it could spare you a lot of discomfort in the long term if an infection is picked up quickly. Some STDs can increase the risk of contracting life-long HIV, for which there is currently no known cure yet.
When it comes to pregnant women, a mother can pass an STD on to her baby either in the womb or during delivery. In serious cases, STDs can cause stillbirth, neonatal death, sepsis, and pneumonia, so it’s important you get tested and make your midwife aware of the results.
The common HPV infection can also lead to the development of cervical cancer, one of the most common forms of cancer in women and one of the hardest to spot early on. Chlamydia – perhaps the most common STD and often asymptomatic – can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility in women.
It’s always best to take a test
If you think you might have an STD or just want to put your mind at ease, then book an STD test today. Dubai London Hospital has one of the region’s best gynaecology departments, and we can see you get the STD test you need as soon and discreetly as possible. With testing and treatment, the vast majority of STDs can be cleared up, and you can get your life back on track.
We’ve seen and treated countless patients with STDs, so you’re not alone. To book your STD testing, simply get in touch with our specialist team by calling 800 352 today.