The need for proper protection during sexual intercourse is always present, and now it’s clear that the call to practice safe sex may have gone unheeded by some in California. Not only are STDs rates in California rising higher than the national average, they are also the highest they’ve been in the past 25 years, specifically for cases of syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Reasons for this spike are still being determined, but public health officials believe that improper condom use and a lack of STD testing are the primary causes. Officials are urging those who believe they may have an STD or those who had sex with someone who may have an STD to undergo testing. For those unsure, if any current or ongoing symptoms are related to an STD, we invite you to review these seven signs that you might have an STD.

STD testing at PGOMG

Your PGOMG provider can provide STD testing and treatment. We take patient privacy very seriously, and our testing services include a visual exam, blood tests and cultures depending on your symptoms. It’s important for patients to remember that some STDs will not display and symptoms, or that some can take years to develop, so testing is still needed after unprotected sex or intercourse in which proper protection was not used or failed. STD testing should not be avoided or dismissed, especially as early diagnosis and treatment can be very important in certain cases.

Protecting yourself against an STD involves making intelligent choices about your sex life, what protection is used, how it is used and the decision to seek STD screening when called for. When used properly, condoms can protect against most STDs, but they are not perfect. For example, you can still get the human papilloma virus (HPV) from your partner when using a condom because condoms do not cover the entire genital area. Learn more about the HPV vaccine Gardasil offered at PGOMG.

Thinking you might have an STD is scary and stressful, but ignoring your fears or symptoms will do nothing to help your long-term health. STDs can do more than display uncomfortable, sometimes painful symptoms — they can even affect your fertility. PGOMG encourages patients to reach out and discuss their concerns with their provider as soon as possible and make an appointment for STD testing if needed.