Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

CDC announces screening guidelines for sexually transmitted diseases


Most sexually active individuals should be aware of the importance of regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but who is in particular need and how often to obtain these screenings may be somewhat unclear.

As a result, Gail Bolan, the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's Division of STD Prevention published commentary on Medscape News outlining the organization's guidelines on screening for STDs.

Bolan states that an estimated 1 million Americans become infected with gonorrhea or chlamydia each year. Individuals who are the most likely to contract the bacterial infections are adolescent females. However, experts have observed an uptick in the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) contracting these STDs, according to Bolan.

Moreover, these conditions may be asymptomatic and increase a patient's risk of becoming infected with HIV, facts which underscore the importance of regular testing.

Sexual history plays a big part in determining whether a person should be tested. Factors that indicate a screening is needed include a high number of sexual partners, failure to use a condom and the presence of symptoms.

The CDC recommends annual HIV testing for MSM who are sexually active, and those who use drugs or have sex with other high-risk MSM may require screening every three to six months. Additionally, this population should be tested according to the sites of sexual contact, which include rectal, oral and urethral examinations.

The Nemours Foundation outlined some of the myths about sexual health that may make people believe they aren't in need of an STD test.  First, certain infections, such as herpes or genital warts, can be contracted simply through skin-to-skin contact. Additionally, the organization states that individuals who only have oral or anal sex are still at risk for STDs, and that symptoms of these infections are not always present.

The only way people can protect themselves entirely from becoming infected is by staying abstinent. However, individuals can reduce their risk of contracting an STD by practicing safer sex, which includes using a condom, getting tested regularly and limiting sexual partners.

Sexually active people can obtain screening through online resources, but should remember to make appointments with their healthcare provider in order to maintain their health.