Nobody likes getting tested for STDs. But it’s something that everybody has to do–even if sexual contact has yet to be initiated. That will be covered in a moment. First, you need to understand some of the risks which come from not getting tested:
- Some STDs Remain Dormant For Months
- STDs Can Affect Mental Health
- You Can Spread Disease Unaware
- You May Die
Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia: they’re hard to spell, they’re definitely bad for you, and they can lie dormant in your body for weeks or months after a sexual encounter. It depends on your physical constitution and age. Additionally, these are some of the most common STDs out there. Thankfully, all three are treatable–provided, of course, you don’t contract some super-gonorrhea strain resistant to modern antibiotics. And such strains don’t just exist, but they’re getting more prevalent. Getting tested quickly can help you take appropriate preventative measures, which may help you avoid being beyond treatment.
STDs Can Affect Mental Health
It’s well-known that syphilis can drive a person to insanity. Chlamydia additionally has certain qualities about it which likewise lead to negative mental health effects. But any STD is generally going to be bad for your mental health just for issues of self-esteem. Physical illness always has an impact on the mind. If you go untested, you could have something influencing how you think and act without realizing it.
You Can Spread Disease Unaware
Because certain STDs lie dormant, when you go unchecked after a “casual” sexual encounter, you could very well spread what you’ve contracted to others. This contributes to pandemic STDs which increase in strength.
You May Die
Certain STDs can lead to complications which ultimately result in fatality. HIV is manageable via medication for years, but once it hits the AIDS stage, life expectancy severely diminishes. Personal constitution can help defray the final moments, but those with fully active AIDS have been known to die very quickly. The BBC puts average life expectancy after contracting HIV at ten years.
Earlier it was mentioned that you should likely get tested even if you haven’t had a sexual encounter. This is true for several reasons. One, certain STDs can be passed on at birth, and you may not know about it. Two, on a legal basis, if you’re in a marriage with a prenuptial agreement, then contraction of an STD constitutes a demonstrable violation of the terms, and you could be protected in a legal sense.
When To Get Tested
With these things in mind, recommendations on when you should get tested include before engaging in intimate activity with a significant other, after engaging in intimate activity that you expect may be questionable, and as a general measure to establish your own clean bill of health. The latter can help you avoid difficult legal situations, while the other two have aspects of courtesy and caution defining them. It’s courteous in today’s day and age for you and your intimate partner to be open with one another, and know what your sexual health is like. It’s cautionary to get tested after the fact.
If you really want to avoid the risks, your best bet is to enter into a mutually committed and monogamous relationship. If neither of you have had sexual encounters before, it’s likely you won’t need testing at all–though this is still advisable just to ensure your sexual health is where you think it is. While having multiple partners is certainly something often pursued today, the fallout can be mind-altering, physically debilitating, and ultimately deadly. So get tested.