Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more common than you may think. If you’re sexually active, you may be at risk, even if you believe you’re in a monogamous relationship. That’s why it’s so important to understand the warning signs that may indicate your partner has an STD, and what you can do about it.
1. Your Partner Displays Any of These Symptoms
There are more than 20 known types of sexually transmitted diseases, and each comes with its own symptom profile. Some symptoms, however, appear in some combination across several of the most common STDs, including:
- Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
- Sores or warts on the genital area
- Painful or frequent urination
- Itching and redness in the genital area
- Blisters or sores in or around the mouth
- Abnormal vaginal odor
- Anal itching, soreness, or bleeding
If your partner displays any of these symptoms, it’s time both of you get tested. While it’s possible that one or more of these symptoms may not be STD-related, an STD is a likely cause. And either way, they should still be checked out by a medical professional.
2. Your Partner Suddenly Withdraws from Sexual Affection
We all have times when we may not feel like engaging in sex or sexual activity, even with a partner we love. When your partner suddenly deviates from your relationship’s typical sexual pattern or withdraws from sex completely, however, it could be a sign to watch out for.
This may indicate your partner is trying to hide symptoms from you. Some STD symptoms, including several associated with gonorrhea or chlamydia, are visible in the genital area, so withdrawing from sex could be an attempt to prevent you from seeing these symptoms firsthand.
It could also be that your partner is trying to protect you from transmission, but hasn’t summoned up the courage to tell you about their STD.
Last, it may be that your partner feels guilt about being in a sexual relationship with someone else. In this case, even if they don’t know whether they’ve contracted an STD, they’re still placing you at risk by engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to talk openly with your partner. Ask for an explanation, but be compassionate. Remember, their withdrawal from sexual activity might be completely innocent, stemming from anxiety, emotional distress or another cause. Regardless of your partner’s answer, however, it might be wise to get an STD test, just in case they’re not being completely honest with you.
3. There May Not Be Any Signs at All
One reason approximately 20 million new STD infections occur each year is because some STDs can be present with absolutely no signs at all. Your partner could have an STD and genuinely not even know it. If that’s the case, then there’s no symptoms or behavior changes to necessarily watch out for.
That’s why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia for any sexually active women under the age of 25. The CDC also recommends annual chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for homosexual and bisexual men.
Whether you have a reason to suspect your partner may have an STD, you have symptoms of an STD, or you’re just a young sexually active person who hasn’t been tested in a while, now is the time to get tested.
In Gainesville, Sira offers free testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea – the two most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States. Both you and your partner can be tested absolutely free, with no insurance required.
To schedule your free test, contact Sira today at 352-377-4947.