STI Testing: 5 Reasons Every Sexually Active Person Should Do It

Testing for STIs—sexually transmitted infections—is one of the most important things you can do for your health. For your own health and that of your partner(s), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend every sexually active adult gets yearly STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most common STIs.

Why? Because STIs can sneak up on you. This is true no matter how many (or how few) partners you have had. It's true whether or not a condom is used. It's true no matter your sexual orientation. If you are sexually active, you may have an infection and not even know it. That’s right: It’s possible for both you and a partner to have zero symptoms and still be infected.

When you’re feeling fine, you may think STI testing seems unnecessary. Unfortunately, many people with STIs are “asymptomatic.” They never show symptoms of an STI until it develops into a full-on disease (STD). Meanwhile, they’ve carried the infection around in their bodies, probably passing it along to their partners.

Young woman sitting outdoors considers pros and cons of STI testing.

If STIs don’t get detected and treated, they can lead to major health problems.

So if you need a good reason to go get tested, that’s reason number one.

Reason #1: Untreated STIs can have serious long-term health consequences.

Some STIs, left untreated, can ultimately cause infertility, organ damage, some types of cancer, and even death. But this danger can often be avoided, because most STIs are highly treatable when caught early. That’s why regular STI testing is vital. It can help protect you from dealing with those serious consequences.

If you have a positive STI test, a doctor can prescribe treatment and put you back on the road to health. STI testing empowers you to take action. You can stop infection from spreading—in your own body and that of your partner.

Reason #2: One STI can lead to another.

One danger of ignoring an STI is that one infection can increase your risk of getting another infection, such as HIV. The experts at Mayo Clinic report, “an STI can stimulate an immune response in the genital area or cause sores, either of which might raise the risk of HIV transmission.”

Many people mistakenly think using birth control—especially barriers like condoms—can prevent both pregnancy and STIs. But that’s always a gamble. The CDC estimates that the various types of birth control methods fail from 2-27 percent of the time. Barriers can tear, an IUD can reach the end of its usefulness, and your body’s tissues can have tiny sores or breaks that let germs through.

In fact, the CDC now says sexually active people should use more than one contraceptive method each time they have sex. Beyond that, they also warn, “When you get right down to it, the only sure way to prevent pregnancy, HIV, and other STDs is not to have sex.

So if you have been sexually active—even if you intend to adopt a less-risky lifestyle in the future—getting STI testing now will help you deal with one infection before it makes you vulnerable to another.

Reason #3: You can get STI testing for free.

Because STIs pose such a dangerous, widespread risk to our communities, many pregnancy centers now offer free STI testing. Choices Pregnancy Center in Redwood Falls and Marshall, MN, is providing free STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea at both of its locations.

Pregnancy centers’ medical services are offered to all patients at no charge. Generous donors in your community have covered your costs, so you can receive testing without worrying about the expense.

Reason #4: STI testing is easy.

At Choices Pregnancy Center, all STI testing requires is one appointment for a simple urine test. Your nurse will provide a brief educational video to give you the facts you need to understand STIs and the risks associated with them. During that appointment, the nurse will allow plenty of time to discuss any concerns you have about your sexual health.

Female patients will receive a free pregnancy test at that same appointment. This is because pregnancy influences the course of treatment the doctor will prescribe if an STI test is positive.

Your urine sample will be collected and sent to an outside laboratory. Within 1-3 days, the nurse will call you with your results. If your test is positive, the physician medical director of Choices Pregnancy Center will then prescribe treatment for you and call that prescription in to your pharmacy. You should begin your treatment right away.

Reason #5: Both men and women can receive STI testing.

Choices Pregnancy Center provides testing for both male and female patients. We believe in partners caring for one another and encourage all men and women to prioritize both their own and their partners’ health.

Young couple holds hands while deciding whether to get STI testing.

If one partner’s test is positive, the other partner will need to be treated too. Again, it is important for the female partner to have a pregnancy test—offered at no charge—before prescribing treatment for an STI.


Make an appointment for STI testing today.

For all these good reasons, sexually active adults should book a time for STI testing. This is the wisest move you can make to protect your health today and into the future.

Contact Choices Pregnancy Center through chat on our website or by texting or calling us during business hours at 507-637-2534.

We’re here to empower you make wise choices for your health.