Survey Finds Many Younger Women Aren’t Getting This Important Health Test
Ladies, can we have a quick group huddle?
I read a new health report I think you should know about.
According to a recent study by clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics, young women may not be getting the information they need to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.
I know it’s a sensitive topic, but stay with me for a minute.
Researchers say that young people 15 to 24 years old acquire half of all new STDs, and that one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD.
Over half the young women surveyed said they are sexually active, but only 56% say they have been tested for an STD.
The CDC recommends all sexually active women under 25 get annual testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, so what gives?
Many respondents said they don’t get tested because they don’t feel they’re at risk or because they are uncomfortable talking to their doctors about sex or STDs.
You can’t rule out having an STD just because you don’t have any symptoms. Unlike the measles or food allergies, you can have an STD without knowing it.
These are worrisome figures because sexually transmitted diseases are no joke. They can cause long-term problems like cancer, heart disease and infertility.
Researchers say 27% of sexually active women admit to not being truthful with their doctor about their sexual history. Of the youngest age group surveyed, 15 to 17 years of age, 43% say they aren’t always truthful.
So it looks like one of the biggest hurdles to getting screened is overcoming embarrassment.
I get it.
It’s super weird to talk to anyone, including doctors, about STDs. But here’s the thing: Doctors have heard and seen it all. I mean, everything.
I promise that a patient asking to be screened for STDs is not the strangest thing they’ve heard all week.
It’s also important to proactively ask for STD screening because some doctors won’t bring it up during your appointment.
Quest’s survey revealed 49% of women say their clinician has never asked if they want STD testing.
Ladies, we need to advocate for ourselves and ask our doctors for the important screenings we need.
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of STD screening. If yours doesn’t, check with your local wellness clinic or health department on where to find free or low-cost testing in your area.
Not sure what to expect during an STD screening? I’ve got you covered.
Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She believes sex-positive advocacy saves lives.