We’re not here to cause anyone to panic, really. STD/STIs have a bad rep out there, especially due to the stigma around having one. But times have changed–every STD/STII is manageable as long as you catch them early on. But we repeat: you need to catch them early on! This means frequent testing, so you can be sure you are healthy. We’ve compiled a list of common myths and facts about STDs that highlight the importance of testing:
We keep repeating this but… Most STIs are asymptomatic, meaning you won’t experience any symptoms, until they’ve developed into something more serious.
STIs tend to be asymptomatic when you get them–this is true for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, HSV (herpes), you name it. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t spread them, or that they won’t develop into something more serious. Women in particular are at risk for developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), and infertility, if they leave STIs unattended for too long. PID is a painful infection of the upper reproductive system that can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.
STIs can lie dormant in your body until one day, something *might* show up.
In a similar vein, STI symptoms can pop up without warning one day, even if you haven’t had a sexual partner in months, or have had a monogamous partner for a long time. Symptoms of an STI during a monogamous relationship doesn’t mean your partner has cheated on you, so don’t take it that way. You could have easily had it for months to years without knowing, if you haven’t gotten tested for that particular STI.
Many STIs are not tested for unless you specifically ask to be tested for them, or your healthcare provider thinks you should get tested for them.
When you ask for “standard tests” or “full panel tests”, you won’t be getting a comprehensive STI screening. Providers will choose what makes the most sense for you. This depends on whether you are exhibiting particular symptoms, or are in for a routine check. HSV (herpes) for example, will not be checked unless explicitly requested from you, or you are showing probable symptoms.
Last but not least…cold sores are herpes 🙂
Yes, this means that those blisters that occasionally forms around your mouth is an STI *gasp*. This means around 70% of people in the world under the age of 50 have herpes! This shows how common STIs are, and how normal it is to have one. Instead of panicking and avoiding the topic, let’s work towards normalizing conversation around STIs and frequent testing.
Get tested with Ash now to keep your sexual health in check!