Sexually active women who have unprotected sex with multiple partners should be checked for sexually transmitted diseases at least once every six months. If you are in a committed relationship with only one partner, Dr. Sodhi may offer testing once a year at the same time as her yearly well woman exam and is performed at your discretion.
HPV is an STI
It is important to note that HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that does not show up on routine STD testing, but is performed in conjunction with a pap smear when applicable. Also, males do not get routinely tested for HPV nor do they show symptoms of the infection, making HPV infection difficult to prevent outside of Gardasil vaccination.
STDs are commonly transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids during oral, vaginal or anal sex. Herpes and genital warts, however, are two STDs that are passed from person to person through skin-to-skin contact if an open wound or lesion exist and sometimes even if no lesions are visible.
How do I prevent STDs?
It is preferable to only initiate contact with partners who have been recently tested. Open and honest communication about diagnosis of STDs and your carrier status for certain STDs is the most healthy way to proceed into relationships and help prevent the unnecessary spread of infection. Various contraceptive methods are available, but barrier protection is the best way to prevent the spread of most infections. Dr. Sodhi advises the use of barrier protection with every single sexual encounter with a partner of unknown status because you never know when you may contract an infection.
Sexual relationships have risks, some of which cannot be completely avoided. Open communication, honesty and safe sex practices are the best ways to reduce your risk of disease.