If left untreated, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), often called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can cause severe health problems. These include:

  • infertility
  • cancer
  • blindness
  • organ damage

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20 million new STIs occur each year in the United States.

Unfortunately, many people don’t receive prompt treatment for STIs. Many STIs have no symptoms or very nonspecific symptoms, which can make them hard to notice.

The stigma around STIs also discourages some people from getting tested.

But testing is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI.

Who should be tested for STIs?

If you’ve been sexually active, it’s a good idea to be tested for STIs. It’s especially important to get tested if:

  • you’re about to begin a new relationship
  • you and your partner are thinking about not using condoms
  • your partner has cheated on you or has multiple partners
  • you have multiple partners
  • you have symptoms that suggest you might have an STI

If you’re in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, and both you and your partner were tested before entering the relationship, you may not need regular STI testing. But many people in long-term relationships weren’t tested before they got together.

If that’s the case for you and your partner, it’s possible that one or both of you have been carrying an undiagnosed STI for years. The safest choice is to get tested.


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