It may be an embarrassing topic to discuss with anyone, but testing and appropriate treatment for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection may prevent severe health issues in the future. Dr. Mohannad Alshalabi is a highly skilled OB/GYN physician who leads the team at Shelby Women Health in Greenbelt, Maryland. He’s well-known for his compassion and ability to help his patients feel at ease, even when discussing something as sensitive as a sexually transmitted disease. Contact the office today for an appointment to guard your health and relieve your anxiety regarding STDs.
STDs are infections that are transmitted from one partner to another during sexual activity, which may include oral sex as well as intercourse. An infection may be viral or bacterial and can include:
Some forms of STD, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, require urine testing and a swab of your cervix that’s sent to a lab for analysis. You may have either one of these infections and not know since they can be asymptomatic until the latter stages of the disease.
Testing for other infections, such as HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis require blood tests to confirm their presence.
HPV is determined via a cervical swab while a Pap test can monitor for changes caused by HPV, such as abnormal cervical cells that may indicate cancer.
The medical complications associated with STDs vary according to the type of infection. For example, when left untreated chlamydia can lead to infertility while HPV is known to cause cervical cancer. In its later stages, syphilis can lead to paralysis, mental health issues, heart damage, blindness, and death.
Symptoms of an STD vary widely and may not occur at all until the infection is widespread and causing significant issues. Early warning signs may include:
Dr. Alshalabi conducts a thorough examination and detailed discussion regarding your sexual activity and symptoms before deciding which STD testing fits your circumstance. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends HIV testing at least once for sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 65, younger if you’re sexually active.
Annual screening may be recommended if you have new or multiple sexual partners or if your partner engages in risky behavior, such as sexual encounters with multiple partners since this puts you at an increased risk for an STD. Testing also may be recommended if you are planning to become or are pregnant or use intravenous drugs.