If you’ve ever had (or plan on having) a sexual partner, it’s a good idea for both yourself (and your partner) to be tested for STDs and/or STIs – also known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases and/or Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Having an undiagnosed STDs or STIs can affect your overall health and wellbeing, as well as your reproductive health, which is why it’s so crucial for those who are sexually active to be tested.

In addition to protecting your own health, getting tested can also protect the health of those you are intimate with. Another reason why it’s a good idea is that many of the time, an STD won’t cause any symptoms at all, therefore testing is the only way to know for sure – and as they say, knowledge is power.

Chlamydia

One of the most common types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) amongst males and females in Canada is Chlamydia. It is transmitted through both vaginal and anal intercourse, as well as anal sex. Mothers can also pass it onto their newborns during childbirth.

As mentioned, most STDs have no symptoms, meaning you may not even know you’ve developed it. However, symptoms that can occur include vaginal discharge or discharge from the penis, abdominal pain, burning upon urination, vaginal bleeding, and painful sex. If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to infertility and other serious health problems, such as PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.)

HPV 

Another common STD is HPV – also known as the Human Papillomavirus, with more than 40 different types that can be diagnosed. In fact, almost every individual that is sexually active will have had (or know someone who has had) HPV. This particular STD can be contracted through both vaginal and anal intercourse, oral sex, and even skin-to-skin contact.

HPV is something the body can usually get rid of on its own. However, certain types of HPV can cause things like genital warts, as well as mouth and throat infections, and even cancer.

For a list of more common Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections, visit:

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/health-concerns/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-infections.html

Prevention

To prevent developing an STD or STI, there are certain precautions you can take. First and foremost, always make sure that you’re using protection, such as latex condoms, as well as oral contraceptives (birth control).

This will not only minimize your risk of developing an STD but also prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The only time you should have unprotected sex is if it’s with a partner you know and trust – for example, if you’re planning on starting a family – and at least 6 months of testing negative for STDs.

If you’re aware that you’ve had an STD, make sure your partner is also aware so that they, too, can take necessary precautions. You can also get a series of vaccinations against Hepatitis B, as well as tested for HIV.

If you’re aware that you already have an STD, avoid having sexual intercourse with anyone until the STD has been treated, and make sure you follow-up with your doctor to get re-tested and cleared to once again engage in sexual activity.

When it comes to actual STD testing, some of them are tested through your urine, while other STD tests are done by swabbing the inside of the penis, or a woman’s cervix. The swab or urinalysis will then be sent to a lab for further testing and confirmation of whether or not an STD/STI is present.