Most everyone has heard of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a health class at some point in their life. However, many of us write them off as something that will never happen to us. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
Estimates from the World Health Organization suggest that more than one million STIs are passed between sexual partners every single day. In the United States, an estimated one in two adults will contract at least one STI before the age of 25. Those staggering figures mean that anyone having sex with a new partner is at risk of acquiring an STI.
As the weather warms up and people start feeling frivolous, now is a great time to brush up on your knowledge about STIs and what to do if you think you may have one. In honor of April being STI/STD Awareness Month, here is what you should know.
Prevention and Early Diagnosis
Many STIs are very treatable. Although not all of them can be cured, most people are able to manage them when they are detected early on and treatment is initiated. Of course, the only way to detect an STI is to be tested.
Even better than needing to treat an STI, though, is not getting one in the first place. When it comes to sexually transmitted infections, prevention is a crucial step.
The only “perfect” method of STI prevention is abstinence. However, that isn’t realistic for many people. For individuals that do have sex with new partners, it’s important to use a condom during every encounter. Although a condom may not be 100 percent effective, it drastically lowers your chances of getting an STI when used properly.
Should prevention measures fail, and you find yourself experiencing STI symptoms, getting it diagnosed early is the next best step. STIs can be either bacterial or viral in nature and include conditions like herpes, HIV, hepatitis B, HPV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
The specific infection a person has will likely dictate their symptoms. In general, you may include things like colored discharge, pain or burning during urination, pain with sex, a new bump or rash, and/or warts on the genital area.
What Happens During an STI Test?
The testing process for different STIs varies. At Velocity Urgent Care, you can walk-in at any time to get tested whether you suspect an infection or just want peace of mind after getting intimate with a new partner.
A provider will perform a basic interview to learn more about your medical history. If an infection is suspected, a focused physical exam will follow so that the provider can evaluate your symptoms. For females, this may include a pelvic exam. Based on the findings of the physical exam, the provider will order some tests to determine what is causing your STI.
These tests can range from a simple urine collection to a blood draw. They’ll also likely use a swab to collect cells from the affected area to send to the lab for testing. All of this can happen discreetly and on your schedule at one of our clinics.
Based on the results of the exam and tests, the provider will determine the best course of action to help you manage your STI. This may include a prescription for antibiotics, medications to control side effects like pain and itching, or a referral to a specialist for further care.
Can I Get Tested For STIs At Urgent Care?
Absolutely! At Velocity Urgent Care, we do much more than just fixing broken bones and stuffy noses.
Our clinics are fully equipped for STI testing at any time. You can walk-in when it’s convenient for you or schedule a time online and skip the waiting room. Experts recommend that all sexually active adults get tested regularly for STIs. If you’d rather skip the stigma of a visit to your primary care doctor and avoid the hassles of the health department, we are here for you.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking serious safety precautions to ensure that our locations are as clean as possible. We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure that each one of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or testing. If you think that you need to be tested for an STI, we urge you to stop in. Don’t put your health at risk by waiting to seek out treatment.
Velocity Urgent Care is also an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible. All of our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.
To find out more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.