The answer is “Absolutely!,” but since Little Way is about educating and empowering women, let’s take a step back and define what an STD/STI is.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), formerly referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are passed between individuals during sexual activity and contact (including oral sex as well). There are several kinds of STIs, each with different effects on the body.
What are some of the most common STIs?
- Hepatitis (particularly B, and less commonly Hep A or Hep C)
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
Am I really that likely to contract an STD/STI?
Unfortunately, it’s pretty likely. One in two sexually active persons will contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by age 25. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in the United States with half of those among young people aged 15–24. Even though young people account for half of new STI cases, a recent survey showed only 12% were tested for STIs in the last year. According to the CDC, sexually transmitted infections are on the rise.
What if I do not have any symptoms?
It is not uncommon for individuals to have STI(s) and not show any symptoms. In this case, you wouldn’t even know you were at risk of spreading the infection or at risk for complications. Other individuals may show mild or severe symptoms. Regardless of how your body responds, if you’re sexually active, even if it’s with the same partner, it is recommended that you have full-panel STI testing performed.
What happens if I choose not to get tested?
This is, of course, 100% your choice. But keep in mind that STIs do have the potential to do more damage to your reproductive organs if not treated. You matter! And your health matters!
If I am considering an abortion, should I get my STD/STI testing before or after?
The answer is before! Being tested and treated for an STI before an abortion can lower a woman’s risk of having infections spread to other parts of her body. Having a surgical abortion forces the cervix to be opened increasing the risk of an STI spreading. If, for example, you have an untreated chlamydia infection and then have an abortion, this can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which could then lead to future ectopic pregnancies or infertility. What if you plan to get a medical abortion? It is not uncommon for a medical abortion to fail, which would result in patient needing a surgical abortion. Testing before any abortion is the safest decision. You shouldn’t be scared, just informed as to what can happen so you can make the BEST decision for you and your future.
Where can I go for testing and how much will it cost?
Great question! If you are considering an abortion, the medical professionals at Little Way can test and treat you for the STIs that put you most at risk for complications. These tests are at no costs to you. For a full panel of STI tests, we recommend that you go to your OB/GYN or the Health Clinic. Still not sure where to go? Give us a call and we can help you with that information.
What’s the next best step?
Before making any major decisions that may affect your health, we encourage you to visit a medical facility where medical professionals will not only answer your questions but will provide the services you need to understand what’s going on in your own body (pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STD/STI testing). Little Way can provide the above at no cost to you and be that safe place to discuss all aspects of your decision regarding this pregnancy.
In order to be the best version of yourself, your health should be a priority! The choice is yours. Choose to know.
Our compassionate, non-judgmental client advocates and medical professionals are here to help.
Our hours of operations:
Monday thru Thursday: 9am — 4pm
Friday: 10am — 2pm
Saturday: 9am — 12:30pm
We look forward to serving you!
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