Everybody having any type of sex has a chance of getting an STI. There are lots of steps that we can take to try to avoid them, but the fact of the matter is that STIs are increasingly common and we’re likely to encounter one eventually. There were over 2 million cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the US in 2017 alone! One of the trickiest aspects of STIs is knowing whether you or a partner has one. Looking for convenient, discreet, at-home STI Testing? Take our simple quiz to find the right test for you.
When imagining an STI, we’ve been conditioned to picture painful burning, uncomfortable itching, or scary malformations of our “private parts”. It is true that sometimes people do experience these uncomfortable symptoms. The most common signs – if there are any – vary based on many factors, such as gender and type of infection.
That said, here are some common symptoms to watch out for:
- Burning when you pee or peeing frequently
- Abnormal discharge from your penis or vagina
- Bumps or sores in or around your mouth, thighs, genitals or anus
- Irritation, itching or swelling of your genitals
- Feeling like you have the flu (chills, fatigue, or body aches)
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important that you seek in person medical care as soon as possible. But in reality, the most common presentation of an STI is to have no symptoms at all.
Contrary to what many high school sex education classes may imply, STIs usually don’t look or feel scary! Around 70% of the time, STIs will cause no signs of infection, and that percentage is even higher for certain STIs, like chlamydia. Even HIV can take over ten years before symptoms show up. It’s because of the silent nature of so many STIs that lots of people are walking around with unknown infections. However, just because someone doesn’t have symptoms, doesn’t necessarily mean their infection can’t cause serious health consequences. If left untreated, many STIs can eventually lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), infertility, and cancer. Plus, having an STI also increases your risk of contracting additional infections. Not to mention, regardless of whether or not a person is showing symptoms they can still transmit the infection to partners. This is where STI screening comes into play.
The only sure way to know if you you have an STI is to get tested, or with binx, to go test yourself! Luckily, most STIs are treatable, and all are curable, but only once you know whether or not you have one. It’s important to incorporate routine testing into your self-care routine so that, if needed, you can access the care you need as quickly as possible. Check out “STIs and Incubation Periods” to find out how soon after having sex you should get tested, and use our quiz to find out what you should be getting tested for. Note that if you think you have come in sexual contact with someone who has an STI, go straight to you healthcare provider. Depending on the STI, clinicians may start treatment immediately before confirming your status with testing.
The possibility of getting an STI is a risk that comes along with being sexually active, no matter who you are or who you have sex with. Practicing safer sex can help reduce the likelihood of getting an STI but the only way to ensure you don’t get one is to abstain from all sexual contact – even making out! And while abstinence definitely works for some people, most will be sexually active at some point in their lives, and STI screening is the only way to ensure we’re staying healthy. Looking for convenient, discreet, at-home STI Testing? Take our simple quiz to find the right test for you.