When you hear the word STD (short for sexually transmitted disease), you probably almost immediately have an unpleasant, visceral reaction. While dealing with STDs is now much more manageable, and a very different story from a century ago thanks to advancements in science and medicine, there is still a stigma surrounding these infections. The reality is STDs are more common than most people think, and anyone and everyone who is sexually active is at risk.
While there are many campaigns dedicated to the public’s education about the topic and the dangers of STDs, many still find themselves intimidated about the idea of getting tested for STDs. This fear is likely not due to a lack of awareness or skepticism about the diseases as now most of us are well educated on the topic. However, it is more of a fear of the stigma behind the diagnosis of STDs themselves and what the results might produce.
Perhaps, our efforts in educating the public has placed too much emphasis on the severity of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted disease, rather than generating more awareness about how many of today’s STDs are curable or can be easily managed with the help of a medical professional.
With this in mind and a few other reasons that we’ll be covering below, here are 5 reasons why it is crucial to get tested for STDs and to set your fears aside.
It Can Take Years to Notice Any Symptoms
Many STDs are asymptomatic, showing no signs or symptoms. However, a lack of symptoms does not mean they can’t develop later or that you can’t still infect someone else. Also, a lack of symptoms does not necessarily point to the absence of an STD. Testing is always recommended along with the use of the necessary protection to prevent contagion. Common prevention methods include latex condoms, or PrEP( pre-exposure prophylaxis) a form of medication that can be taken to prevent infection.
Nevertheless, protection is not 100% guaranteed to prevent a possible infection, once again emphasising the necessity and significance of getting tested. Ultimately, testing for STDs allows for an early diagnosis and treatment before more severe symptoms can appear. Depending on the STD, gettitting treatment can aid in the prevention of lifelong health issues that may develop. Therefore, it is crucial to get tested to make sure you catch a possible infection and get proper treatment.
There is No Need to Feel Embarrassed
There is a common stigma around the idea of getting tested for an STD. Many feel that by taking a test, they’re announcing to the world they’re positive or contagious. However, getting tested does not immediately equate to a positive result. Instead, getting tested should be approached like any other routine medical exam you would get at your doctor’s office. And in the case the results do turn out positive, there is no need to feel hopeless or as if you are now a threat to the world and that society is going to reject you.
The reality is, an STD is treated just like any other illness or disease, and many are curable or easily managed. There is no need to be ashamed when it comes to battling an illness or any other medical condition. The best approach is to always seek professional help and advice.
Below are 3 common types of STD infections that can be cured if proper testing and treatment are done:
Most STDs can be cured and handled with the use of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. More resistant types like HIV, hepatitis B, herpes, etc., can also usually be managed and kept under control with the help of lifelong treatment. Nonetheless, the important thing to remember is that help is available, you’re not alone and countless others have gone through the same experience.
Understand The True Significance of an STD Diagnosis
A STD diagnosis is no longer a death sentence — it simply means that medical help is needed. An STD diagnosis is also by no means a title or new identity. A positive result is not something to dread to the point of it signifying that your life is over. Understanding that anyone can become infected and may therefore need medical help, is a huge factor when it comes to eliminating the fear and stigma behind getting tested.
Studies show that about 27% of young women don’t feel comfortable talking about their sex life and addressing STDs with their doctors. While it is understandable to be hesitant about opening up about your personal issues and concerns, the key is to find a medical professional whom you trust and feel comfortable with/ Also, keep in mind doctors experience situations of this nature on a regular basis and have seen it all. It is their job to help ease your fears as you take care of your health.
Getting Tested Is Easy and Quick
Thankfully, you can typically choose where you get tested for STDs and how you get tested. For many people, the environment and place in which they get tested can be a trigger for feelings of fear and anxiety they may feel in regards to talking about their symptoms. Thanks to the convenience of at-home testing, many find this particular factor is no longer a concern. You can also seek out labs that specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases have personnel who are fully trained to handle such medical concerns with the utmost respect. Make sure you seek out specialized clinics that are certified, sterile, and reliable. The most important thing to keep in mind is to remember that STDs are not something to be ashamed of, nor a reason to accept any kind of disrespect or shame from anyone, including a medical professional.
Even Nonsexually Active People Are At Risk of Becoming Infected
Sexually transmitted infections are not necessarily indicators of the kind sexual life you lead. There are a number of infections that can be transmitted without being sexually active that can be transmitted through mere skin to skin contact or even a kiss. To be sure of your status and to know whether or not you’re contagious or might be in need of treatment, it is always recommended to get tested.
The Fear of Getting Tested Is More Fatal Than The Diagnosis
For our final thoughts and recommendations, we’d like to remind you that avoiding getting tested could eventually have a more severe and worrisome outcome than the test itself. An early diagnosis is always preferred, and will always be easier to cure or treat. The longer you wait to get tested simply prolongs the time and durability of treatment if it was to be necessary, and puts those close to you, most importantly your partner, at risk. Ultimately, don’t forget that getting tested is not a guaranteed positive result, but serves more as a preventative measure and marker of your health status. Be proactive, take control of your health and get tested. Your health depends on it.