Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention2 recommends that sexually active women get tested at least once each year for gonorrhea and chlymedia, while gay and bisexual men get tested for those two as well as syphilis. The CDC offers no official recommendations for straight men, which is frankly disappointing. 

As it goes, most healthcare professionals think these recommendations are inefficient. “It should go without saying, but men can get STIs and pass those STIs onto their sexual partners, no matter their gender,” says Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness

So, what’s a better rule of thumb? Before every new sexual partner, according to Erin Flinn, a NP and healthcare expert with Favor. “Patients should get checked for STI — either at a clinic or using an at-home test— prior to having sex with a new partner, and asking that they do the same,” she says.

People should get tested more frequently than that if they begin to experience unusual symptoms. While the majority (nearly 70%) of STIs are asymptomatic, sometimes people will experience STI symptoms, such as pain while peeing, discomfort during sex, itchiness, lumps and bumps, blisters or sores, and unusual discharge. If you experience any of these symptoms, or any other genital, anal, or throat abnormalities, you should test yourself for all STIs. 

Left untreated, some STIs can have serious consequences such as neurological conditions, infertility, scarring, and more, says Rymland. And of course, left untreated, there is also the risk of transmitting the infection to your other sexual partners, she says.



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