April marks the annual observance of STD Awareness Month. Individuals, health care providers, and community-based organizations are encouraged to bring a renewed sense of enthusiasm and focus to their STD awareness and prevention efforts throughout the month.
Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. And the same behaviors that put you at risk for acquiring these STDs can put you at risk for getting HIV.
The link between STDs and HIV is real. By educating yourself on ways to lower your risk, you can take action to protect your health. STD and HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of disease.
STD & HIV Screening Recommendations
- All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once for HIV.
Annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women age 25 and under, as well as older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners.
- Yearly gonorrhea screening for at-risk sexually active women (e.g., those with new or multiple sex partners, and women who live in communities with a high burden of disease).
- Syphilis, HIV, chlamydia, and hepatitis B screening for all pregnant women, and gonorrhea screening for at-risk pregnant women starting early in pregnancy, with repeat testing as needed, to protect the health of mothers and their infants.
- Screening at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea for all sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM who have multiple or anonymous partners should be screened more frequently for STDs (i.e., at 3-to-6 month intervals).
- Anyone who has unsafe sex or shares injection drug equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3 to 6 months).