Nearly 2 million adults annually have contracted an STD within the last two years according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and require screenings and STD tests to help diagnose symptoms.
Many individuals are unsure if they currently have, or are at risk, for contracting a new STD. This is because many STDs may not present physical symptoms for a long time without a clinical test or screening. Any sexually active adults should get a screening under the following circumstances:
- After sexual intercourse with a new partner
- After sexual intercourse with multiple partners
- Unprotected sex, which drastically increases STD risks
- A history of frequent drug and alcohol use, which can impair decision making and spread STDs
- A history of previous STDs
A screening can help your doctor or a local medical provider diagnose any current STDs even when you’re not completely sure if you have one. However, it also helps to understand the most common types of STDs to truly gauge your risks of getting infected.
So what are the most common STDs to watch out for?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is one of the most infectious diseases in the US as well as one of the most infectious STD in the country. HPV can be transmitted through person-to-person contact as well as sexual activity. A majority of adults will get at least some of HPV in their life. Thankfully, three vaccine types can help the body combat HPV and protect patients. HPV doesn’t have many known symptoms and seldomly causes genital warts.
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD and affects over 1.7 million adults every year. In about a quarter of women and half of all men infected, symptoms include unusual discharge from the genitals. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics but both sexual partners should get a follow up screening after treatment.
Gonorrhea is similar to chlamydia because of the similar symptoms and the same form of treatment. The disease is the second most reported STD in the U.S and may lead to very uncomfortable symptoms such as painful urination. Recently, cases of gonorrhea have spike so make sure that you are managing any potential risks with multiple screenings!
Syphilis is far less common than the other conditions on this list, but the disease has made a comeback in recent years. Syphilis doesn’t have any immediate symptoms but can worsen into significant health issues without treatment and testing. Luckily, most cases can be treated effectively within a few weeks with antibiotics if detected early.