Spread the Health

How did I not know that I have an STD?

People assume that they’d know if their partner had an STD. They think that there would be signs. They’d be able to see sores or discharge. Their partner would smell different. Sometimes, that’s true. However, most of the time it isn’t. The vast majority of STDs are asymptomatic. That means they have no noticeable symptoms, and the only way you can know if a potential partner is infected is to ask.

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Scientists estimate that:

  • Three quarters of all women with chlamydia, and half of those with gonorrhea, have no symptoms
  • Half of all men with chlamydia, and 10 percent of men with gonorrhea, have no symptoms

In addition:

  • Most people with genital herpes will never notice any symptoms, even if they have them
  • Early syphilis sores are painless, and they can hide in the mouth, vagina, or rectum

People assume that they’d know if they had an STD. They assume they’d feel different or see some sign of the disease on their body. However, while discharge, strange bumps or sores, and discomfort are a good reason to suspect that you may have picked up an infection, a lack of symptoms isn’t a sign that all is well. The only way you can know if you have an STD is to ask your doctor for STD screening.

If you want to know whether you have an STD, you have to ask…

  • Your doctor to screen you for STDs. It’s not part of a standard checkup.
  • What STDs you were tested for. Otherwise you won’t know if you tested negative for one infection or five.

If you want to know whether your partner has an STD, you have to ask…

  • Your partner what STDs they’ve been tested for and when. Details help you feel confident that they actually tested negative, rather than that they just assume they’ve been tested.
  • What risky behaviors they’ve participated in since their last test. Because those results may no longer be accurate.

SPREAD THE HEALTH: There are many assumptions out there about STDs, especially when it comes to whether you or a partner has one. To be confident that all is well down there, ask your doctor for a STD screen and talk with your partner before having sex.

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