More than 2 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are reported in America each year. And those are just the reported cases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say the actual number is much larger. It estimates there are approximately 20 million new infections each year, nearly half of which are among people ages 15-24.
Those millions of infections are never reported because the individual doesn’t seek medical attention or may not even know he or she is infected. And if they don’t know, how could you?
Many people think, “I’m always safe. I know what to look for,” but the truth is it’s possible to have a sexually transmitted infection for years, and spread that infection to multiple partners, while never displaying a single symptom. Without a medical STI test, you simply can’t know for sure.
Of course, there are some warning signs for which you should always be on the lookout. Sores, itching, oozing, odors, burning or irritation on or around your partner’s genitals are red flags. You should immediately avoid any sexual contact with your partner, and encourage him or her to be tested. You too should be tested, because it’s possible you’re also infected but not yet displaying symptoms.
As mentioned before though, STIs sometimes don’t produce any symptoms at all. Other times, the symptoms are so mild they can be confused for something else, like a yeast infection or random temporary discomfort. So don’t take the absence of symptoms to mean you’re in the clear.
This lack of obvious symptoms is a big reason sexually transmitted infection rates are on the rise. From 2013 to 2017, reported cases of chlamydia increased 22% and reported cases of gonorrhea increased 67%. The CDC called these “steep and sustained” increases, and pointed out that anyone who has sex is at risk.
If you are sexually active, it’s crucial to be tested regularly. In Gainesville, Sira offers no-charge chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for women and men alike. It’s completely confidential and 100% free. If you need further tests for other STIs, we will refer you to a community partner for treatment and additional testing.
Don’t wait, wonder and worry. Test, learn and know by contacting Sira today at 352-377-4947 to schedule your free tests.
Note: A little vocabulary clarification…
You may have noticed that we reference both “STDs” and “STIs” above. While the term STD (sexually transmitted disease) is more common, a person can be infected and not develop a disease, making STI (sexually transmitted infection) more accurate, and therefor preferred among the medical community.