Approximately 20 million people are diagnosed with STDs per year, and the majority of these cases are teenagers and young adults. Much of this problem is caused by stigma and misinformation. Removing the stigma around sexual activity and promoting scientific, factual education about sex are the best ways to encourage responsible sex habits, including regular STD testing.
At Dr. Sasan Massachi's clinic in Beverly Hills, California, testing for sexually-transmitted diseases is handled discreetly and with honest care and compassion. He will also come to your home if you prefer. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed; STDs are a preventable health risk, and they should be discussed frankly with your doctor on a regular basis.
Preventive care is the most important aspect of STD treatment, and the first step to preventing STDs is understanding them.
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are contagious diseases spread through sexual contact. STDs include bacterial, viral, and even parasitic infections. Despite the seemingly straightforward description, there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding STDs and how they spread.
STDs are spread through various means, including contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and sometimes saliva. No form of sexual interaction is exempt from STDs; you can receive or spread an STD through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Contrary to popular belief, many STDs are asymptomatic and may not develop symptoms for a long time after infection. This does not mean the infected person is not capable of spreading the infection, though.
Common STD types
There are dozens of sexually transmitted infections, but the most common types of STDs include:
- Genital warts
- HPV (Human papillomavirus)
- Pubic lice (crabs)
- Hepatitis B
Each type of STD has a specified treatment protocol. Some STDs are completely curable, while others have no cure and must be managed instead. By having safe sex and getting tested regularly, though, you can protect yourself and others.
STD prevention and testing
Pregnancy isn't the only concern when having unprotected sex, and most forms of birth control do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Being on hormonal birth control does not protect a woman from receiving an STD, and other birth control methods (sponges, diaphragms, spermicide) do not protect against STDs either.
Condoms, dental dams, and mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner are the most reliable ways to avoid being infected with an STD. If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, you should get tested after each new partner, and request that your partners get tested before having any form of sexual contact.
If you suspect you or a partner may have an STD
STDs are enabled by stigma and secrecy. But being diagnosed with an STD is not shameful, and visiting a doctor for treatment is not something to avoid. It is your responsibility to be up-front about your test results with your sexual partners, and you should expect the same from them. Sometimes it can be helpful to visit your doctor together for testing when starting a relationship.
Even if you aren't showing symptoms of an STD, you should get tested after every new partner. If you frequently change partners, make sure to consistently use reliable forms of protection, and get tested frequently. If you are diagnosed with an STD, make sure to notify everyone you have had unprotected sex with since your last test, so they can be tested as well, and so any other partners they have can be notified.
If you are interested in getting tested for STDs, you can contact Dr. Sasan Massachi by calling 310-553-3013 or requesting an appointment online.