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Sexually Transmitted Diseases Awareness Month

April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 20 million new STD cases in the U.S. every year and the medical costs for these new cases are $16 billion.

STDs are common, but people may not know they have an STD because many don’t have symptoms. If left undetected and untreated, STDs can cause serious health consequences. If sexually active, getting tested for STDs is one of the most important things one can do to protect their health. It is also important to have open and honest conversations about sexual history and STD testing with a doctor.

Below is a brief overview of STD testing recommendations:

  • All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.

  • All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.

  • All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy. At-risk pregnant women should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea starting early in pregnancy. Testing should be repeated as needed to protect the health of mothers and their infants.

  • All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Those who have multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3- to 6-month intervals).

  • Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent HIV testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).

  • Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year.