Healthcare TipsHealthy Relationships

Should you get tested for an STD?

February 1, 2023

If you have sex, the answer is probably yes.

Sexually transmitted diseases don’t usually stand up and make themselves known with weird rashes, pain, or itching like you’d expect them to. Instead, most are symptomless. So if you have an STD and don’t get tested, it can quietly wreak all kinds of havoc on your body—leading to infertility, cancer, or even death. There’s more bad news, too. Until an STD is treated, the person who has it can transmit it to others.

And STDS are a lot more common than you might think

Although people don’t often discuss the topic over lunch with friends or even with their doctor, they should—at least when it comes to talking with health care professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that about 20% of the United States population, or about one in five people, has an STD. It’s the perfect time of year to consider reproductive health anyway, because January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the STD human papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer.

When patients are diagnosed with an STD, they often feel everything from fear to confusion to embarrassment, said Danae Young, a Hancock OB/GYN women’s health nurse practitioner. She says that she diagnoses someone with an STD about once a week. 

“I think it’s important for patients to know we don’t judge them. It doesn’t matter what they’re coming in for—we’re here to take care of them. That’s our job,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many patients apologize for coming to see me. But there is no judgment on my part. I’m just honored to be part of their care.”

Young said she encourages patients who are 25 and younger to have annual screenings since people of that age are more likely to have multiple sex partners. But getting tested is a good idea for anyone who’s sexually active—especially if you’re having unprotected sex. In most cases, your doctor can make the tests part of your yearly physical.

The list of STDs your doctor can test for includes: 

If getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases isn’t part of your regular health care screening routine, maybe you should consider it. If you’d like to get tested, find out more about how you can prevent the spread of STDs, or have questions about anything related to reproductive health, our experts are always ready to help. Learn more about us at

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