I Think I Have an STD: What Should I Do?
The CDC estimates that 68 million people in the United States have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Most STDs are curable, but the sooner you start treatment, the better. STDs can cause infertility, widespread organ damage, and cancer without medical attention.
MyDoc Urgent Care offers top-level immediate care services from five state-of-the-art facilities in New York. One of their many specialties is STD testing and treatment, available via walk-in services or a scheduled same-day doctor appointment. They also offer routine STD screening for sexually active individuals at risk of developing an STD.
Check these facts from the MyDoc team about why you should get tested if you’re at risk or think you have an STD.
What is an STD?
An STD stems from a bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic infection passed from one partner to another during sexual activity.
Depending on the type of STD, kissing, anal sex, vaginal intercourse, or oral sex can transfer the infectious organism. In addition, close skin-on-skin contact can also lead to an infection.
For instance, HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most prevalent STD in the US. It’s most often passed through anal or vaginal sex. A condom offers significant protection from HPV.
However, the HPV virus can live on the skin’s surface in areas not covered by a condom. Thus, if your partner carries the virus, you can also contract HPV through skin-on-skin contact in the genital area, even without intercourse or if you’re using a condom.
When should you get tested for an STD?
STD testing is recommended if you’re sexually active and develop symptoms such as:
- Bumps or sores in the genital area (penis, vagina, vulva, anus, upper thighs)
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina or tip of the penis
- Burning with urination
- Frequent urination
- Irritation, itching, redness, or swelling in the genital area
- Fever, swollen glands, fatigue, and other flu-like symptoms
Unfortunately, STD symptoms can occur intermittently or go unnoticed until significant health complications arise.
For example, syphilis is a bacterial infection that starts as a small, painless sore (chancre), usually in the genital, rectal, or oral area but sometimes inside the rectum or vagina. Most people develop only one chancre.
Contact with the sore transfers the bacteria from one partner to another. A sore develops at the contact site about three weeks after exposure and heals on its own within three to six weeks. After the initial phase, syphilis may not cause any symptoms for years.
However, without early treatment, usually a dose of penicillin, syphilis can eventually damage the heart, liver, brain, eyes, bones, and joints.
The MyDoc Urgent Care team recommends routine STD testing/screening if you’re starting a new relationship, are involved with multiple partners, or suspect you’ve been exposed to an STD.
What happens during STD testing?
Depending on your symptoms and health history, your MyDoc Urgent Care provider may recommend one or more testing methods, including:
- Blood test
- Cheek swab
- Fluid samples from visible sores or blisters
- Swabs from the throat, vagina, cervix, anus, or penis
Your provider develops a treatment strategy based on your exam and test results. For instance, your plan may include oral- or injection-based therapy with antibiotics or antivirals specific to the infection type.
Most STDs are curable, and even those that aren’t are manageable with long-term therapy that protects you from significant health consequences.
Home remedies, such as herbal or mineral supplements, oils, yogurt, etc., have little to no effect in treating an STD. Skipping treatment in favor of a “natural cure” can lead to significant health complications.
If you’re concerned about STDs, use our walk-in services, or schedule a same-day doctor visit for testing and treatment at MyDoc Urgent Care today. For scheduling, call the office, or request an appointment online.