Sexually transmitted infections have been on the rise over the past five years in the United States. Most people think that they would know if they had a STI, but that is just not true. The truth is you can have a STI but not have any signs or symptoms, or mild signs that can easily be overlooked. Some STIs take weeks, months, or possibly even years to show symptoms. The only way to know if you have a STI is to get tested.
If you are, or have been, sexually active it is so important to educate yourself on the risks of STIs. Each time you choose another partner, your chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease goes up dramatically. It is important to be tested for STIs every year. There are so many women and men that have had multiple partners, and have never been tested for STIs.
“When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.”
–C. Everett Koop, M.D.
The Most Common STIs
HPV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea are the three most common STIs in the United States. Many curable STIs, like gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to other conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This can cause serious harm to a woman’s reproductive system, making it difficult, or even impossible, for her to get pregnant. Gonorrhea and chlamydia can also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. This condition occurs when an egg is fertilized outside of the uterus. Although, you can have some STIs without symptoms, here are some symptoms that you may notice.
Symptoms of STIs
- Pain or Burning during urination
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Rectal pain, discharge, bleeding
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Genital warts (a bump or group of bumps in the genital area)
STIs During Pregnancy
An STI during pregnancy can pose serious health risks for you and your baby. As a result, screening for STIs, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, chlamydia and syphilis, generally takes place at the first prenatal visit for all pregnant women. This is one reason why early prenatal care is so important when you find out you are pregnant. The good news is that some STIs can be treated with the use of antibiotics. It is important for you to be tested so you can seek treatment and avoid health risks. It is also important to educate yourself on the ways to prevent STIs.
- The only sure way to prevent acquiring a STI is to abstain from sexual activity.
- If you choose to be sexually active, enter into a mutually monogamous, long-term relationship with someone who has been screened for STIs.
We Can Help
At Options Medical Clinic, we have caring people and medical professionals that you can talk to about your concerns. If you think that you may be pregnant, we can offer the support and resources that are needed for prenatal care. We offer free pregnancy tests, proof of pregnancy, referrals for Pregnancy Medicaid, doctor recommendations, and resources to help educate and give you the support that you need for STI testing during pregnancy. We are here for you. Please call 770.766.0864 to make an appointment with us.