The human body is prone to bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Some of them have no significant impact on our bodies due to the presence of a highly active immune system, while some are fatal. These infections may or may not be contagious. One of the most infectious forms is sexually transmitted diseases, also known as STDs. The most effective way of preventing STDs is to use protection and get STD testing.
How do STDs transmit?
STDs were previously known as venereal diseases or VD. Sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex, is the most common way for STIs to spread. Some STIs can be transmitted non-sexually, such as by blood or blood products.
Sexual intercourse has been linked to the transmission of more than 30 bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The most common sexually transmitted disease is caused by eight of these infections. Syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are four of the eight illnesses that are currently treatable. Hepatitis B, herpes simplex virus (HSV or herpes), HIV, and human papillomavirus are the other four incurable viral infections.
Treatment can diminish or modify symptoms or sickness caused by incurable viral infections. It is estimated that 25% of all Americans have an incurable STD. Twenty million new cases are recorded each year; half of these infections affect people aged 15 to 24, and they can have long-term repercussions. Many STDs can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth, including syphilis, hepatitis B, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HPV.
Why do people delay testing for STD?
The most apparent reason for the delay in STD testing is the stigma associated with it. Social stigma often hinders open discussion around STDs and seeking the proper treatment for the disease and symptoms. Since STDs often target the age group of 15 to 24, many are unaware of the suitable sources and methods to approach the problem resulting in aggravating the issue.
A counter way to overcome the stigma associated with STDs is to seek confidential testing of STDs through online services. Another alternative is to use at-home testing kits.
Another dominant reason for the delay in testing is the absence of symptoms. Many people infected with an STD may be utterly oblivious to it. The asymptomatic nature of the disease prolongs the due time of receiving appropriate treatment.
The medical fraternity advises sexually active people, especially those with multiple partners, to seek routine checkups for STDs. Moreover, incorporating tests for STDs in annual health checkups can also prevent long-term complications caused by undetected STDs.
Risks of delaying testing of STDs
While all of the reasons for delaying STDs testing are normal, they can cause more danger than one might imagine. By ignoring prescribed STD tests, people risk developing significant consequences or endangering the health of others. It is feasible to be healthy without abstinence if one is aware of the primary risk factors that can run havoc in one’s life if ignored.
- Infecting others
Having an untreated STD increases the chances of infecting others. Even if a partner uses condoms and has safer sex, there is still a chance of transmission. Even if one can’t cure an STD, knowing its status can help get the right therapy and information needed to lower the level of infectivity.
- Increased Severity
STDs can create serious health concerns if left untreated. Some of these diseases might go undiscovered for decades, frequently with no visible symptoms. It can take years for severe and often fatal effects to manifest.
Curable STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, if left untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women and infertility in both men and women. Syphilis complications can also cause the epididymis to become obstructed, increasing the risk of male infertility.
- Risky Pregnancy
Several STDs can endanger not just the pregnancy but also the unborn child. An illness can not only affect the viability of a pregnancy, but it can also pass the infection to the baby before or during delivery.
STD testing can be frightening, and the findings might be life changing. However, the long-term advantages outweigh the hazards. Early detection allows patients to receive treatment before complications arise or others are exposed to dreadful infections.