Sexually transmitted diseases are more common than people think.

According to the New York State Department of Health, 1 in 4 Americans has an STD and because many STDs don’t present any symptoms, you may not know you have an infection. That is why it is important to get tested to ensure that you are healthy and to protect both you and your partner’s health. STDs can be spread easily through close physical contact and can have a serious effect on your health if left untreated.

Anyone who is engaging in close physical contact with another person can get an STD, even people in monogamous relationships. Because many infections do not show any symptoms, people may go years without knowing that they are infected, so new symptoms are not necessarily a sign of a new infection. The only way to know if you have an infection is to get tested. This is why it is important to get tested regularly, in order to prevent unknowingly contracting or transmitting an infection to your partner.

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STDs are spread through sexual contact between partners. Depending on the particular infection, it can be spread through contact with the bodily fluids (semen, saliva, blood, vaginal fluid etc). Infections are more easily spread when the infection is active (such as when there is an open sore) but it can still be spread from partner to partner when there are no visible symptoms. Using barrier methods properly (such as condoms or dental dams) can significantly reduce your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection, but they are not 100% effective. The only way to eliminate the risk of contracting an STD is to abstain from sex and sexual contact. This is why it is important to get tested regularly, even if you use protection.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to an STD (for example, if you have had unprotected sex, sex with a new partner, the condom breaks or you begin experiencing unexplained symptoms) you should get tested. The only way to know for sure if you have a sexually transmitted disease is to get tested. Most infections can be easily treated with a round of antibiotics. If left untreated, however, they can cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility or, in the case of HIV, premature death. While some infections, such as genital herpes and HIV infection cannot be cured, medical intervention can significantly improve the health of those affected. Medication is available that can diminish the impact of these infections on your everyday life.

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Testing is straightforward and usually involves a blood or urine sample or a swab from the affected area. There are several different options for getting tested. You can access STD testing from your family doctor, sexual health clinic or at a medical lab with a requisition form. Fast STD Testing provides discrete efficient testing directly from a medical lab. The requisition form is emailed to you, for you to present at the lab upon arrival.