Although most states provide sex ed in public schools, it’s always good to talk to your teen or young adult about the risks associated with being sexually active. For many young people who may be experiencing independence for the first time, either heading off to college, living on their own, or starting their first job in a new career — embarking on these “firsts” can be challenging.

Navigating this unknown territory for young adults involves making decisions that can affect their overall health and well-being. The National Institutes of Health reports that this transitional time into a new life chapter is the ideal opportunity to emphasize long-term health, like implementing safe sex practices.

Health Risks Associated with STDs

Here’s why. Health issues associated with sexual contact disease transmission have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, according to the CDC. Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), historically referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, are on the upswing since 2020. The latest figures from 2021 show more than 2.5 million reported cases of STDs throughout the U.S

These are infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They are caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microorganisms. STDs can be spread from one person to another during sexual activity, including intercourse without a condom, sharing of sex toys, and contact with infected body fluids.

Common STDs include:

  • Chlamydia: Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, it is one of the most common bacterial STDs and can be asymptomatic in some cases.
  • Gonorrhea: Caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV): A viral infection that can cause genital warts and is linked to the development of certain cancers.
  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): A viral infection causing genital herpes, which is characterized by painful sores or blisters in the genital or anal area.
  • Syphilis: Caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, syphilis can cause a wide range of symptoms if left untreated.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): A viral infection that attacks the immune system, leading to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Trichomoniasis: Caused by the parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, it is one of the most common curable STDs.

Symptoms Are Problematic

The difficulty with STDs is that some are asymptomatic, so you don’t even know you’ve been infected, or you have mild symptoms that go unnoticed. Often people don’t learn about exposure unless a sexual partner has been diagnosed. The Mayo Clinic says to look out for these symptoms that could indicate you have been infected through sexual transmission:

  • Sores or bumps on the genitals or the oral or rectal area.
  • Painful or burning urination.
  • Discharge from the penis.
  • Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge.
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Sore, swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin but sometimes more widespread.
  • Lower abdominal pain.
  • Fever
  • Rash over the trunk, hands, or feet.

STDs are tricky because symptoms may never appear or can appear years after being infected. But left untreated, some STDs can cause infertility, chronic pain, and other long-term health problems. In addition, many STDs can be easily passed on to sexual partners, even when the infected person is not experiencing any symptoms. This means that people who have multiple sexual partners or who engage in unprotected sex are at an increased risk of contracting and spreading STDs.

Any Lab Test Now® Screenings

For people who may not be practicing safe sex, getting regular STD screenings, and discussing sexual health with partners to reduce the risk of transmission is important. Early detection and treatment of STDs are crucial to prevent complications and further spread.

Any Lab Test Now® is a judgment-free zone. We are here to provide answers when you need them. Our STD PANEL, COMPREHENSIVE, is a screening test for infections that can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact. This panel looks for HIV, syphilis, herpes (HSV1 & HSV 2), gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. If you are interested in testing for additional STDs, you should consider the COMPREHENSIVE STD PLUS. A blood sample and a urine sample are required for these tests. A vaginal swab (for females) may also be used.

The lab tests we provide are accurate, confidential, affordable, and convenient. You own the results, and you choose how to proceed with them, whether that means consulting with your provider for further details or discussing the results with sexual partners. We understand this is a sensitive issue, so we provide the utmost care and discretion with these matters, and adhere to strict HIPAA regulations.

Any Lab Test Now® is Your Partner in Health

It’s important for young adults to understand the value of their health and make informed choices that support their well-being. We are here as a resource to obtain answers with tangible results. Call now to schedule an appointment at a location near you.