STDs affect millions of adults every year as cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis eclipse 2.6 million cases annually, based on updated CDC statistics.
However, STDs disproportionately affect certain adult populations. Characteristics including age, sexual orientation, and drug use may increase or lower your STD risks; for example, LGBT individuals under the age of 25 are more likely to get an STD than older adults.
Even though some groups of people have higher risks of STDs than others it is important to understand that STDs are highly preventable. The most important risk factors for getting an STD involve behaviors that are more likely to lead to a potential STD.
So what are some of the risk factors for getting an STD and when should you get a screening?
Get an updated STD test after sexual activity with a new partner
If you recently had sexual intercourse with a new partner make sure to get an updated screening ASAP.
Even though your partner says they never had an STD, or don’t have one current, you should still always double check. STDs sometimes don’t have apparent symptoms or physical indicators, which could mean that a simple visual check is not enough to screen for a disease.
Go to a nearby urgent care center whenever you get a chance to get a comprehensive STD test.
Individuals engaging in sexual intercourse with multiple partners should get an STD test
Your risk of getting an STD increases significantly if you engage in frequent sexual intercourse with several partners. Additionally, having sex with multiple people over a short frequency of time may increase your risk of getting a new STD.
Regardless of sexual orientations, adults with multiple sexual partners should make sure they get updated STD tests frequently. As mentioned before, your symptoms may not be visible until weeks after you catch a disease so make sure to get a screening/test.
Combining drug and alcohol use with sexual activity
Heavy drug and alcohol use can impair decision making, which can lead to riskier sexual activity and a greater chance of contracting an STD.
Individuals that use drugs, such as heroin or injectable substances, have a higher risk of getting debilitating STDs including HIV/AIDs. This is because shared needs between drugs users can spread HIV through blood transmission left over in the needle.
Having or previously having an STD
If you currently have an STD or previously had one, then your risk of getting a second infection is increased. An STD can weaken the immune system and lead to other diseases that are transmissible through reproductive organs.
Make sure that any STDs are treated and managed before re-engaging in sexual intercourse to prevent infection in partners and to also lower your changes of getting a second disease.
Always practice safe sex, learn more about your sexual partners, and maintain a healthy lifestyle to effectively prevent against STDs!