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Everything You Need to Know About STD Screening

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), which are also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), are at an all-time high in the U.S. with more than 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed last year. Researchers attribute the rise to an increase of condomless sex and dating apps that make sex more readily available.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, STDs can result in cervical cancer, pelvic infections and infertility. Untreated syphilis can progress to neurosyphilis, a life-threatening infection of the central nervous system. And untreated HIV can progress to AIDS.

While some STDs cause symptoms like genital discharge or burning with urination, most infections are asymptomatic, which means patients need to follow routine screening guidelines to detect an asymptomatic infection.

So how often should you get screened for STDs? It depends on your age, gender, sexual orientation, sexual activity and previous health history.

Here are the current guidelines.

  • All patients ages 13-64 should be screened for HIV at least once.
  • All pregnant women should be tested for Hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV early in their pregnancy. Pregnant women with a history of high-risk sexual activity (i.e., sex with multiple partners) should also be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • All sexually active women and heterosexual men under age 25 should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea once a year.
  • Women and heterosexual men older than 25 should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea if they have a new sexual partner, sex with multiple partners, sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or sex in exchange for drugs or money.
  • Sexually active bisexual and gay men should be screened for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia once a year if they’re in a monogamous relationship.
  • Bisexual and gay men with multiple partners should be screened for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia every 3-6 months.
  • Bisexual and gay men with multiple partners should be screened for HIV every 3-6 months.
  • Women ages 21-65 should have a PAP smear, which screens for HPV (the sexually-transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer) every 3 years. Women with an abnormal PAP smear will need more frequent testing. The frequency depends on the type of HPV detected and whether there are any signs of cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer.
  • Gay and bisexual men should have an anal PAP smear at least every 2 years to screen for HPV, which has caused a 40-fold increase in anal cancer among men who have sex with men (MSM).

We're Here to Help

At GoHealth Urgent Care, we’re open seven days a week to care for you. We offer rapid HIV testing, as well as screening for other STDs. If you need STD screening (or medical attention for another non-life threatening injury or illness today) click below to check-in now!



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