There are many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) encompassing a wide range of severity from the unpleasant yet treatable to the incurable and deadly. While any sexual activity always carries some level of risk, there are measures you can take to keep safe, such as regularly visiting your lab for STD testing. Use the following guide to common STD risk factors to determine your susceptibility level.
4 Risk Factors for STDs
1. Unprotected Sex
The top risk factor for contracting STDs is having unprotected sex. If used properly, condoms are the best way for sexually active people to minimize risks of contracting diseases. Remember that many birth control methods, such as pills or the IUD, only prevent against pregnancy – not diseases. If you’ve skipped protection in the past, be sure to set up an appointment for STD testing.
2. More Than One Partner
If you have multiple partners, you’re heightening your risk of exposure to STDs. If you’re sexually active and not in a monogamous, long-term relationship, you should use protection or ask any partner to submit to STD testing in advance.
3. Your Age & Gender
Women overall face unique consequences from STDs, and sexually active young women especially carry a substantial risk of exposure. The cervix changes as women age. Younger women have a greater tendency towards cervical ectopy, or having thin, soft tissue on the exterior of the cervix rather than hard cells, for example. Some research suggests cervical ectopy makes young women more vulnerable to contracting disease, though the connection requires further study. Young adults are also more likely to skip protection and key preventive care, whether due to a lack of access or a poor understanding of the consequences – though STD rates are also on the rise in aging populations.
4. Intravenous Drug Use
Using needles for recreational drug use exposes you to a number of hazards. This includes the risk of contracting serious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. If you’re struggling with drug addiction, seek local treatment resources and make use of syringe exchange programs, if available to you.
Are you seeking accurate, discreet, and reliable STD testing? If so, turn to Rochester Regional Health Laboratories in Monroe County, NY. This company provides testing for healthcare providers and patients and has been serving the community since 1975. Turnaround times are as short as 48 hours, so you’ll get the results you need promptly. Find a testing site near you by visiting their website, or call (800) 525-5227 for assistance.