Prevention might be more important than cure in the case of STDs. Here’s how you can protect yourself:
- If you are sexually active, get regular STD screenings.
- Have a Pap smear every 3 to 5 years, and find out if you need to be tested for other STDs. Where possible, get the HPV vaccination.
- Whether you are engaging in vaginal, anal or oral sex, always use a condom, or other barrier methods, to protect yourself.
STDs and pregnancy
You can contract an STD while you are pregnant. Because many conditions don’t have symptoms, you can be living with an STD without knowing. For this reason, doctors may run a full STD panel at the beginning of a pregnancy.
While symptoms might not present, STDs can cause complications in pregnancy and may even be life threatening to you or your baby. Some may be transmissible to your baby during pregnancy or birth, so seeking treatment is essential.
All bacterial STDs can be treated safely with antibiotics during pregnancy. Viral STDS can be counteracted with antivirals, lowering the likelihood of transmission to the baby.
STDs and sexual assault
Some people will contract STDs due to a case of sexual assault. If a woman seeks medical aid immediately after sexual assault, the healthcare provider will attempt to obtain DNA and check for any injuries sustained during the assault. During this process, they can check for potential STDs.
If the person waited for some time before seeking medical care, they can still ask for an STD screening.
In this case, the healthcare provider may prescribe some, or all of the following treatment:
- Hepatitis vaccine
- HPV vaccine
- HIV antiviral medication
There are some actions to take after being diagnosed with an STD:
- Inform your sexual contacts that they need to get tested for STDs.
- Avoid sexual contact until your doctor gives the green light. Make sure your STD is completely cured before you engage in sexual activity.
If you have concerns over any symptoms or are concerned that you have an exposure to an STD, make an appointment at one of our DTAP clinics for confidential and professional diagnosis and treatment.