Who Needs an STD Test and How Often?

Jul 06, 2023
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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise in the United States, but many people don’t know they have one. Nearly everyone sexually active needs STD testing — but when and how often? Here’s what you need to know.

STDs are becoming more common among Americans, with millions of new infections every year. Although those numbers sound scary, most STDs are detectable and treatable. 

At San Feliz Urgent Care, we believe STD testing should be accessible and easy, so we conveniently offer urine, blood, and swab tests in our Glendale, California, office. These tests can identify gonorrhea, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chlamydia, and other types of STDs so you can get immediate diagnosis and treatment. 

But how do you know if you need to test? Every situation differs, so our team follows the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Who needs STD testing?

If you’re sexually active or have been in the past, you most likely need STD testing. 

Many people assume they don’t need STD testing if they’re married or in a committed relationship, but you may still need testing no matter how committed you are. Infidelity is one reason, but even when there’s no infidelity, your partner could pass an STD to you if they don’t realize they have it from a prior relationship. 

Our team evaluates your situation, including your age, health, sex practices, sexual orientation, and sexual history, to determine whether you need STD testing.

How often do you need STD testing?

STD testing frequency varies based on your risk factors. The general testing frequency guidelines for sexually active people include the following:

One-time testing

All people aged 13-64 need to test for HIV at least once. Pregnant women need syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C screening at their first prenatal visit. 

If you develop new STD symptoms, such as painful urination, unusual vaginal or penile discharge, or genital sores, our team may recommend immediate one-time testing.

Annual testing

If you’re a woman younger than 25, you need gonorrhea and chlamydia testing annually. If you’re a woman 25 or older and have a new sex partner, multiple sex partners, or a partner with an STD, you also need yearly testing.

All men who have sex with men (gay, bisexual, or in other situations) need syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea testing at least once a year. Based on risk factors, some heterosexual men may also need annual STD screenings.

More frequent testing

If you have risk factors, such as multiple partners, anonymous sexual partners, a partner with an STD, practicing unsafe sex (without condoms), or having HIV, you may need STD testing every 3-6 months.

Don’t be afraid to speak honestly about your sexual habits and past because it helps our team recommend the proper tests and frequency. We’re here to support you in all aspects of STD care, including helping you talk to your partner about it, treating your STD effectively, and preventing STDs in the future. 

At San Feliz Urgent Care, we welcome urgent care patients from 10 am-10 pm daily, so don’t hesitate to reach out for rapid and reliable STD testing when you need it. Please book your appointment using the online scheduling feature or call our office today.