Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are rarely anyone's favorite topic of conversation. But it's important to know that STD testing is an essential element of health care for any sexually active person. Whether it's uncomfortable or not, ignoring STD testing could have long-lasting health consequences.

Why Get Tested?

In the United States, roughly half of all young adults will acquire a sexual transmitted disease, which makes STDs a very common STDoccurrence. Often the infection has no signs or symptoms so you may have one without knowing it. Many times the only way to discover if you have an STD is to get tested for it. It's important to know if you have an STD even if you are not suffering symptoms because the consequences may be unseen for years. You could also be unknowingly passing the disease onto partners. When caught quickly, most STDs are highly curable.

Long Term Consequences of Untreated STDs

Without knowing if you have an STD, you cannot begin treatment. Even those STDs which are curable could have permanent consequences if left untreated for prolonged periods of time. For example, Chlamydia is a very common bacterial infection of the genitals that may not present symptoms. It is easily curable with antibiotics, but when left untreated it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease resulting in potential infertility, long term pain, and in extreme cases can be fatal.

Gonorrhea is another STD that can be easily treated with antibiotics, but could cause infertility or even death when left untreated.

Many people avoid testing for fear of an HIV/AIDS diagnosis, but with today's advanced treatments, HIV/AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was. When caught in the early stages, HIV-positive patients can lead normal, full lives.

If you have questions or concerns about your sexual health, the gynecologists of Womens Medical Center in Dothan offer full service STD testing and treatment. As with any disease, early diagnosis and treatment is the most effective cure. To ensure your reproductive and sexual health through STD testing, schedule a consultation your women's primary care provider today.