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How Your Risk Factors Affect STI Testing Type & Frequency

by 26Health Staff

At every age and stage in the cycle of life, we submit to medical care — which includes various kinds of testing — but often without thinking twice about it. But when it comes to STI testing, there is some confusion about whether and when to do it, and how important it truly is.

It’s time to dispel the elephant in the room: the stigma attached to STI testing. That stigma has lessened in the U.S., but it needs to be eradicated altogether for the benefit and safety of us all.

“The unacceptably low screening rates for STIs can be explained, in part, by the social stigma that many teens and adults associate with these conditions, the reluctance of clinicians to discuss screening with eligible patients, and the unwillingness of some payers to cover STI screening,” wrote David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Dr. Raymond C. & Doris N. Grandon Professor of Health Policy at Thomas Jefferson University.

So, what is the best way to give the stigma the boot? One of the best ways is by refusing to give in to the quiet voice inside, the one that may tell you that STIs are unmentionable and getting screened is participation in a distasteful dialogue. STIs are real; they affect people of all ages and walks of life, but you are worthy of good health.

Read on to learn which STIs you should get tested for, also how often.

STI Testing for Young People

But who is most resistant to STI testing? Teens and young adults, one of the groups at greatest risk. Everyone from age 13 to age 25 should be screened for HIV — and if you think that’s starting young, recognize that your young teen may be sexually active, even if you cannot fathom it. Also, research shows that children under 15 are less likely to use protection, increasing their risk of exposure to STIs.

Adolescents and young adults should also have annual chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings.

STI Testing for People Over 25

Make HIV testing part of your annual medical exam as a rule.

Get tested for HPV once every five years.

Screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea annually if:

– You’re having sex with a new partner or multiple partners;
– You’re a man who has sex with men;
– You’ve been forced to engage in sexual activity against your will.

Should you have symptoms or your sexual partner has been diagnosed with syphilis, get screened.

If you’re pregnant, get screened for syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B. When having multiple sex partners or a new sex partner while pregnant, also get screened for gonorrhea.

If you have AIDS or HIV, test for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea twice a year. Also, screen for HPV twice a year.

If you were born between 1945 and 1965, also get tested for hepatitis C.

To schedule a full-panel screening, request an appointment today.

Or, call 321-800.2922 ext. 1500.

26Health STI testing clinic provides full-panel screening weekdays from 8:30 am – 4 pm.

At-Home Testing

If easy access to STI testing is a concern for you, or if you find that your daytime work makes office visits challenging, at-home testing is an option.

We think you’re ready for this.