Which Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are worth being screened for?
There are a number of different infections and diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. There are a number of circumstances in which people should be tested for STIs, and if you have a doubt after unprotected sex then it’s worth it to either consult with your physician or go to an anonymous clinic to get tested. For the general population, with no known increased risk, there is evidence to support sexually active women under the age of 25 to be tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. There is no evidence to support sexually active men at any age to be screened if they have no symptoms. There is also inconclusive evidence to support the general population to be screened routinely for other types of STIs.
What are the other risk factors that I should be concerned about?
Other risk factors include multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex, a partner who they themselves have had multiple partners, or a parter who has been diagnosed with an STI. These are the factors which increase the risk of being infected with an STI, and if any of these conditions are true, it’s important to consult with a physician to see if they recommend screening for other STIs.
Does screening really work?
When dealing with infections, screening plays a very important role not only on the individual but on the society that they interact with. Screening for cancer has very different implications, because the main goals are early diagnosis in order to prevent the disease from progressing. While that is also a goal in this situation, another main goal here is to prevent the spread to other people as well.
What can we do about it?
Treatment is largely based on antibiotics, which are very effective on the STIs mentioned in this article. In addition to treating the infection, there are a number of behavioral recommendations that should be taken into consideration in order to reduce the chance of transmitting that infection from one person to another. This is very important to be aware about if you have been infected with an STI.
Are these the only recommendations?
Of course not. There are many different bodies providing different recommendations. However, this is based on large amounts of data, and many studies that were conducted. It’s very important to understand the data in order to make rational decisions that are based on evidence, and not put yourself through excessive risk, harm, pain and anxiety.
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Knowledge is power. It’s very important for each of us to understand what our options are, and what evidence supports each option. Preventing diseases before they start is often the most efficient way to be healthy, and this starts by screening for the diseases that are appropriate for us depending on age, gender, and other factors. Download our app to go through a short list of questions, and receive a personalized list of the appropriate screening recommendations for you. More information about each of these tests is provided through the app, so that you can stay informed and educated.
Here are a few studies which prove the efficacy of screening and early treatment for STIs. Feel free to contact us for more information about the matter, we would be happy to provide it for you.
Zakher B, Cantor AG, Pappas M, Daegas M, Nelson HD. Screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia: an update for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2014. [Epub ahead of print]
Nelson HD, Cantor A, Zakher B, Fraenkel M, Pappas M. Screening for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia: Systematic Review to Update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations. Evidence Synthesis No. 115. AHRQ Publication No. 13-05184-EF-1. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2014.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Clinical Practice Guidelines. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 1991.