Take Charge of Your Sexual Health
September 24, 2021
Much like general physical and mental health, sexual health is an essential aspect of your overall well-being. Therefore, educating yourself on your sexual health is an important piece regarding your overall wellness.
Secure & Private Virtual Visits
Did you know that many sexually transmitted disease appointments can happen virtually, in the privacy of your own home? Our providers can perform a screening examination for sexually transmitted illness (without symptoms) when it’s convenient for you. This is a great option if the topic makes you uncomfortable during an in-person visit, or if you can’t find time to visit your primary care provider or local urgent care. After the telehealth appointment, your provider will determine the next steps for you. Remember, in-person visits are always an option as well.
Here’s how you can take charge of your sexual health:
Get Comfortable with Getting Tested
Surprisingly, some people with STDs don't show symptoms, meaning they may not even know they have an STD unless they get tested. Even if an STD shows no symptoms, the result of non-treatment can be serious. Bret Michael Bellard, MD, with Renown Medical Group, shares that it’s important for people to get tested for STDs because if left untreated, they can cause the following health problems:
- Loss of fertility
- Pregnancy complications
- Other health issues
When to Visit Your Primary Care Provider
Who should get tested and how often? “The recommendations are that everyone from ages 13 to 64 should get tested at least once for HIV. All sexually active adults should also be tested for other STDs once a year, and all pregnant women should be tested at the start of their pregnancy,” says Dr. Bellard. Some STDs, like syphilis, can be passed from mother to baby, so it's important for women to get tested as soon as they know they’re pregnant.
Dr. Bellard recommends going to your primary care provider for testing. “They can also give advice on prevention and other health topics.” If you don’t have a primary care provider, this is a great reason to get established with one. Women with an established OB/GYN can have STD testing done simultaneously with their annual pelvic exam. The providers in Renown's network care for patients of all ages and specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN.
Practice Safe Sex
STDs are preventable. Practicing safe sex and getting tested routinely are your best defenses against all types of STDs.
For many, the conversation about sexually transmitted diseases is awkward and many avoid it. To lower your risk of contracting an STD, don’t wait until you’re “in the moment” to have the conversation with your partner about the last time you were both last tested. If you haven’t gotten tested in-between new partners, use latex condoms every time you have sex until you are both confirmed negative of STDs. Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing disease or pregnancy. However, they are extremely effective if used properly.
To establish Primary Care, visit renown.org/virtualvisits or call 775-982-5000
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