The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared new and concerning data recently: Reported cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were on the rise in the United States. Not only had gonorrhea cases increased by 67% and chlamydia remained at an all-time high, but cases of syphilis were up 26%, bringing it to highs unseen since the 1950s.
Even more concerning? These were only the reported cases of STDs.
Our skilled team provides convenient and cutting-edge in-office diagnostic testing for STDs at Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan. If you’re sexually active, here’s what we recommend to help stay safe amidst the surging cases of sexually transmitted diseases in the country.
Know your risks
Approximately 20 million new cases of STD infections get diagnosed each year. These conditions spread from person-to-person through oral, vaginal, or anal contact, either through affected skin or the exchange of fluids.
While anyone who engages in sexual activity can get an STD, some factors can increase your risk of exposure, such as:
- Being a man who has sex with other men
- Being a women aged 15-24
- Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
- Participating in sexual activity using alcohol or drugs
- Having oral, anal, or vaginal sex without condoms or dental dams
Knowing your risks can help increase your awareness, so you can proactively monitor your reproductive health.
Learn to spot the signs of an STD
You’ve likely heard of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. However, there are dozens of infections that are spread through sexual contact. And, many cause mild or few — if any — symptoms at all.
Signs of an STD could include:
- Odd discharge from the penis or vagina
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- Burning while peeing
- Bumps or sores in areas like the thighs, butt cheeks, or genitals
- Pain, itching, irritation, or swelling in the anus, vulva, vagina, or penis
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, and body aches
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to schedule a screening as soon as possible. Not only can this protect your health, but it can help prevent the spread to others as well.
Be proactive about your reproductive health
Finally, the most important way to protect against STDs is through regular testing. This is especially crucial, because most people who learn they have an STD have no symptoms.
General guidelines recommend annual testing for STDs for most sexually active individuals, including:
- Women up to age 25
- Women over age 25 with STD risk factors, such as new or multiple partners
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who engage in sex with men
- Anyone who has a higher risk for STDs
Anyone who is pregnant should also have an STD screening early on to avoid pregnancy complications.
Remember, these are just general guidelines. Our team can make personalized recommendations regarding how often you should get screened and which tests are the best for you. We can also provide information on how you can help protect your health, such as using condoms and other forms of protection.
Are you ready to protect your reproductive health? Get the help you need by contacting Macomb Medical Clinic today.