It’s true that STDs carry a lot of stigma, but they’re still more common than you might think. In fact, the CDC estimates that one in five people have an STD. Although young women and men are most vulnerable, STDs are increasingly affecting those over age 50, too.

So, because STDs are so common, it’s important to get tested for them—especially if you are sexually active with more than one person. Our AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway team elaborates below.

What Actually Is an STD?

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections or STIs, are very common. Millions of new infections occur every year in the United States.

A person can contract an STD by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the STD. But this doesn’t mean sex is the only way STDs are transmitted. Depending on the specific STD, infections may also be transmitted through sharing needles and breastfeeding. We’ve listed some common STD symptoms among men and women below.

Common STD Symptoms

  • Pain or discomfort during sex or urination
  • Sores, bumps or rashes on or around the genitals, anus, buttocks, thighs or mouth
  • Unusual genital discharge or bleeding
  • Painful or swollen testicles (men)
  • Itchiness in or around the vagina (women)

Who Should Be Tested for STDs?

As long as you’re sexually active, you should be tested for STDs at least once a year. If you have more than one partner, share intravenous (IV) needles or don’t always practice safe sex by using a condom each time you have intercourse, you should be tested every three to six months.

When caught early enough, most STDs are treatable and even curable. Those that aren’t curable can be managed once you know you have them. We’ve listed some effective and common ways to prevent STDs below.

Effective Ways to Prevent STDs

  • Practice abstinence. The surest way to avoid getting STDs is to not have sex.
  • Use condoms. Condoms lessen the risk of infection for all STD, but can still get certain STDs, like herpes or HPV, from contact with your partner’s skin even when using one.
  • Have fewer partners. First, make sure you know that neither of you has an STD, then have sex with one person who is only having sex with you. This will dramatically lower your STD risk.

STDs are common. If you have an STD and need treatment or you need to be tested, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at AFC Urgent Care Chapman Highway today.