Sexual health is an important but often overlooked area of overall well being.
There are two main reasons for this:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are often seen as taboo that cannot be discussed with anybody. Ever. It is not like a fever where you can ask friends and family for the best remedies without fear of stigma. STDs are not something discussed over the dinner table!
- Many people believe that STDs must have symptoms and therefore ignore any chance of contracting one unless they have obvious symptoms. However, up to 40% of men and 80% of women may have no symptoms with an STD and therefore will not know they have it.
It is important to identify STDs so that they can be treated early (even in those with no symptoms) so that complications such as infertility do not cause a problem down the line.
The recommendation is that those who engage in regular sexual intercourse with casual (one-time) partners should be screening regularly, say, every 3 months. This will help identify any potential hidden STD so that treatment can be given early.
Testing for men is very straightforward – often all that is needed is a blood sample and urine sample. For women the testing is slightly more invasive as vaginal swabs are needed in place of the urine sample.
Don’t put your sexual health at risk. Remember to screen regularly and, if possible, use protection such as condoms.
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