Sexual health and STD testing are topics no one really wants to talk about, and unfortunately that means a lot of people tend to neglect them. Sure, many of us go through basic sexual education in school, and many more are fortunate enough to have parents or other influences who address sexual health in a thorough manner. But sometimes the real information of the process of maintaining sexual health is left somewhat vague, and whether we mean to or not, we may ultimately become neglectful of our personal wellbeing in these areas.
This article is just a reminder about some of the important aspects of maintaining personal sexual health. And with that said, here’s what to keep in mind!
Know The Statistics A lot of people view STDs (or STIs) as being rare or purely as side effects of reckless sexual encounters. Yet, one of the most important aspects of controlling your sexual health is understanding that these perceptions are false. According to these statistics, 50 percent of sexually active people will get an STD/STI before the age of 25. That doesn’t exactly qualify diseases and infections as “rare,” and that’s in part because not all of them are caused by reckless encounters. Safe sex practices can go a long way toward preventing STDs, but unfortunately there is always some risk for sexually active individuals. Understanding this can help you to be more open to the idea that regular testing is necessary.
Know The Diseases Most anyone who qualifies as a young adult or older can rattle off a list of common STDs. Their names are familiar to us, whether through sexual education or, unfortunately, frequent mention in TV or film comedies. However, a lot of people struggle to differentiate between them or understand the various implications of each one. This is problematic in that it can actually lead to your ignoring symptoms or taking a situation lightly that requires immediate attention. This outline of major STDs can help you learn about the common diseases and infections in addition to their various symptoms and short- and long-term effects. Having a firm grasp on these conditions is a vital way to safeguard yourself against suffering from one of them.
Know How To Get Tested Understanding the numbers, symptoms, and effect behinds STDs is all important, but thorough knowledge of the topics doesn’t always lead to regular testing or healthy practices. Often, this is simply because people aren’t sure exactly how or where to undergo regular testing. Mayo Clinic has a helpful description of different types of testing for different conditions. With most of them. the first step is to simply speak with your primary care physician. He or she will either be able to conduct a test personally or recommend a clinic or office where you can get whatever testing you need. As for frequency, it’s generally recommended that you have a thorough STD/STI checkup at least once a year (consider it another aspect of an annual physical), or following any encounter you believe has put you at risk. While it may seem like common knowledge to some, this type of information is relevant for sexually active individuals and should be taken to heart. Unfortunately, sexual education is often inadequate or incomplete for many of us, and taking the time to understand the relevant topics and practice basic precaution can keep you healthy.
Jenn Sawyer is a freelance writer and aspiring journalist. Her favorite topics to cover are women’s rights and sexual health. She is hoping to work in a communications role for a non-profit that supports these causes someday. You can contact her via twitter at: @_JennSawyer_
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