It’s important to get checked for sexually transmitted infections any time a student has had a sexual encounter with a new partner or stranger, and oftentimes this happens during spring break, said Angela Middleton, medical director of UTA health services.
A sexually transmitted infection, commonly referred to as an STI or STD, is a contagious disease that is primarily transmitted through sex.
“We usually are a bit busier during the weeks after spring break for STI checks,” Middleton said.
Middleton said the most common types of STIs UTA health services see are chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and Human papilloma virus. She said there are occasional cases of syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus.
Here are 6 reasons you should get checked for an STI after spring break:
1. You had a sexual encounter with a new partner.
“Basically anybody who’s sexually active should get checked,” Middleton said.
2. You are a woman under the age of 25 who is sexually active.
Middleton said that it’s recommended for sexually active women under 25 to get screened for chlamydia at least every two years, even if they don’t have a new partner. She said this is because women will often not show symptoms of chlamydia, which could lead to infertility if it goes untreated. Men will often have more obvious symptoms of chlamydia, she said.
3. You feel a burning sensation when you urinate after a sexual encounter with a new partner or partner that you believe could have had an STI.
A burning sensation when a person urinates can be a sign of chlamydia or gonorrhea, Middleton said. Both STIs are curable.
4. You have vaginal or urethral discharge after an encounter with a new partner or partner that you believe could have had an STI.
Discharge is another possible sign of chlamydia or gonorrhea, Middleton said. Both STIs are curable.
5. You have painful rashes or warts on genitals.
These are signs often associated with herpes, Middleton said. Herpes is not curable, but medication can decrease the frequency and duration of breakouts, she said. Herpes itself is not fatal, but it can lead to HIV, the precursor of AIDS.
6. Calls from a partner that you need to get checked.
Middleton said that it does not need to be an encounter from a stranger. If any sexual parter tells a student to get checked he or she should do so immediately.
Middleton said there are many resources available for those who would like to get tested for STIs. She said all consultations are free and testing for different diseases cost about $30 to $50. Students can make appointments by phone, online or walk-in.
Coordinated Admissions Program freshman Aaron Barber said he would advise a friend to get checked immediately if they have reason to believe they could have an STI. He said there’s a little bit of a stigma to it, but health comes first.