If you have been sexually active, it’s important that you get tested. People can have an STI (sexually transmitted disease) and not even know it or have any symptoms. There are an estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that occur in the United States each year (according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). STIs are not something to take lightly and can be deadly.

How Do You Get An STI?

STIs are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. You can get an STI by having intimate sexual contact with someone who already has the infection. You can’t tell if a person is infected because many STIs have no symptoms. But STIs can still be passed from person to person even if there are no symptoms. It’s possible to get some STIs without having intercourse. Not all STIs are spread the same way. Women are also more likely to have an STI than men.

Symptoms of An STI

STIs can have a wide range of signs and symptoms, and often no symptoms. This is why it sometimes goes unnoticed and can complicate things in the future for the person and sexual partners. Some signs and symptoms that may indicate an STI, according to mayoclinic.org, are:

  • Sores or bumps on the genitals
  • Painful or burning urination
  • 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

How Often Should You Test?

STIs can cause major problems and serious disease, so it’s important to get tested regularly if you are sexually active. The CDC recommends that you get tested whenever you have a new sexual partner. If you are under age 25, it is recommended you be tested annually. Bright Hope offers free and confidential STI testing and education for women.

Make an appointment today to get tested. Our caring team of medical professionals is here to listen to you and answer any questions you may have.