It’s common for people to wonder how often they should get tested for STDs once they are sexually active. It all depends on how active you are or how many partners you or your partner have been with. In fact, getting tested for STDS once you become sexually active can be one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. The CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of sexual activity, should get tested for HIV at least 1 time in their life. They also recommend that if you are an IV drug user, or are bisexual or gay, you should get tested for HIV at more frequent intervals. Some health care professionals recommend that you get tested yearly, but if you are having unprotected sex or have engaged in risky behavior you should get tested more often.
The CDC also recommends that women get tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea on a yearly basis. If you are frequently having unprotected sex with new partners, then it is recommended that you get tested even more regularly. In general, you should get tested every year. If you are married or in a long term committed relationship your testing can become less frequent if you and your partner have both been tested and cleared of any STDs.
If you have tested positive for an STD and have received treatment it is also important to follow up with testing to ensure that you were not re-infected. Once you have been diagnosed and treated for an STD, you are more likely to have an STD again within the next 6 months.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States, in part because it is tested for so frequently. Other STDs are also common but not all doctors will test for them without the patient specially requesting. Herpes is one of these tests that a doctor will rarely order unless there are symptoms present.
When it comes to asking yourself how often you should get tested, It comes down to your lifestyle. If you are having sexual contact with multiple partners, engaging in bisexual or homosexual intercourse, or using IV drugs than your risk is higher, and you should get tested more frequently than once a year. If you are in a committed relationship but you or your partner has been unfaithful, it will be important to get tested to ensure that you or your partner have not contracted anything. If you are not engaging in risky behavior and/or have been on a long-term committed relationship less frequent testing is recommended.
When entering a new relationship, it is important for both partners to get tested to avoid transmitting an STD back and forth between you and your partner.
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