By Jamie Porter, health promotions analyst
Not getting tested for STIs because you’re worried what will happen if you have one is like not checking your bank account because you’re scared you have no money.
It doesn’t solve any of your issues, buries your anxiety and can potentially make the problem worse.
Getting tested regularly is one of the best things you can do for your sexual health. Here’s why:
- You won’t necessarily know if you have one without getting tested. The majority of people with STIs experience little to no symptoms and often attribute these symptoms to other causes like UTIs.
- Your partners won’t necessarily know if they have one, either. One in six people with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they are infected (CDC, 2015).
- You can get treatment. Many STIs are curable, and all are manageable with treatment. Untreated STIs can lead to complications including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and chronic pelvic pain (CDC, 2015). When you get tested regularly, you increase the chances of being able to catch infections early on.
- STIs are on the rise. National rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis rose 6 percent, 13 percent, and 19 percent, respectively, from 2014-2015 (CDC, 2015).
- STDs disproportionately affect young people. Chlamydia and gonorrhea rates are highest among 15-24 year olds (CDC, 2015).
- Even if you practice safer sex (including but not limited to using condoms or other forms of barrier protection), there are STIs that are spread from skin to skin contact alone (e.g., herpes).
Getting tested gives you peace of mind and helps you tackle any issues head-on. With resources available at the University Health Center, you can take control of your sexual health. HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia tests are offered at no additional charge at the UHC when ordered by a provider. And, for Get Yourself Tested (GYT) month, if you refer a friend to get tested at the Rapid HIV Test Site, you both can receive $5 Scooter’s gift cards!