Most people get an STD at least once, and now millions are living with them. Having an STD is nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn't mean that you're “dirty” or a bad person, it just means that you're a fairly normal human being who contracted an infection. People who have sex without using condoms are at high risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Chlamydia is a relatively mild bacterial infection, which is mainly transmitted through intercourse.
In men, it's uncomfortable and generally harmless. In women, there is a chance that, if left untreated, it may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to complications during pregnancy or even infertility. If you don't feel comfortable talking to your regular healthcare provider about STDs, there are many clinics that offer confidential, free or low-cost testing. Ironically, doctors don't usually test for the two most common STDs, herpes and HPV (they're reported less frequently than chlamydia because people often don't realize they have them).
Some STDs (such as trichomoniasis) can be treated to go away, but other infections (such as herpes or HPV) can stay in a person's body, even if that person has been treated. Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States, and gonorrhea is also incredibly common. While you shouldn't be embarrassed if you contract one, ignorance is by no means a blessing; some untreated STDs can lead to complications such as infertility. Honestly, if you're serious about each other, you should get tested tomorrow or at least before you start having unprotected sex (and ideally before that, since there are some STDs that condoms don't protect against).
If you're sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Over the years, dozens of people have asked me about STDs, many of them looking for information, but many of them simply seek the assurance that they won't go away and die. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history and STI testing with your doctor and ask if you should be tested for STDs. The reason most information about STDs is absolutely terrifying is because the media sell scary information and religious fanatics don't want anyone to have fun.
At this visit, you and your doctor can talk about your sexual history and what other STI tests you might need. However, as I learned more, took more tests, spoke to more doctors and did more research, I realized that the truth about STDs is more complicated than previously thought and that contracting many of them would be a much more benign experience than I had imagined. The RAW score is a rough estimate of the average number of single Americans with whom you would have to have unprotected penetrative sex to get that particular STD. Of course, the chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) are even greater if a person has unprotected sex with many different partners.
Because gonorrhea is also a common STD in people in that age range, your doctor will also likely want to test you for that condition, Hook explains.