How often do you need to get tested for STDs?

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If only sex were all fun and games. Even though it can result in many nice thingscloseness, orgasmsit can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases. Although you shouldnt feel ashamed if you contract one, ignorance is absolutely not bliss; some untreated STDs can lead to complications like infertility.

Every person needs to be tested, Edward W. Hook III, M.D., professor of medicine, epidemiology, and microbiology at the University of Alabama, tells SELF. The question about how often people need to be tested for sexually transmitted infections once theyve been tested the first time is a function of a number of things, like their number of partners, and their partners number of partners.

What STDs should you be tested for? It can be a little tricky, but here are the basics. The two biggies are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States, and gonorrhea is also incredibly common. Whats worse, they can both be asymptomatic, are both on the rise, and when left untreated, both can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility.

Ironically, doctors often dont test for the two most common STDsherpes and HPV (theyre reported less often than chlamydia because people often dont realize they have them). The reason is just that: Theyre so damn common that sometimes its not even worth finding out. Since 67 percent of the global population has HSV-1, the kind of herpes most likely to cause cold sores, and one out of every six Americans between 14 and 49 has HSV-2, the type that usually causes genital herpes, your doctor likely wont test for them unless you specifically ask or have symptoms. Doctors dont start screening for HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, until you turn 30, preferring to rely on routine Pap smears to detect signs of cervical cancer before then.

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