April is STD/STI Awareness month, and while we’ve all had to take a health class or two, you may need a refresher on the information you learned in school. Here are 10 facts you’ll need to know to keep your lady parts in check!
1. Every year there are more than 19 million new cases of STIs in the U.S. By age 25, roughly one in two sexually active people will get an STI.
2. Women often confuse STIs with yeast infections and other conditions. That’s why it’s important to see a health care provider, who can determine what (if any) STIs you should be tested for.
3. STIs, including HIV, often have NO symptoms. Zero. That’s right. So, many people who are infected don’t even know it!
4. Putting off getting care for an STI can have lasting health effects for both women and men. Left untreated, some STIs can cause infertility or increase your risk of getting cancer.
5. You can’t assume that you have been tested for STIs if you have had blood taken, given a urine sample, or had a pelvic exam or pap test. If you want to know, ASK to be tested.
6. When making your appointment for STI testing, ask about the health center’s privacy policies: Will they call you at home with test results? Will they send a bill to you? Will they send other mail? Every facility works differently—it’s OK to ask.
7. Be honest and open with your health care provider about your sexual history. They are there to help you, not to judge you. Certain STIs are so common that your health care provider may suggest that you get tested regularly for them.
8. Okay, so you have an STI. Breathe. Remember, all STIs are treatable and many are curable.
9. Make sure that your partner is also tested for STIs. For example, with HPV, men can be carriers who show no symptoms and then transfer the disease to you.
10. Finding a testing center near you is quick and easy. Just enter your zipcode in the testing center locator at www.GYTNOW.org or text your zip code to GYTNOW (498669) on your mobile phone.* You will get a text message back with information about the nearest testing center to you. Simple. Easy. Done.