HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – April is Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Awareness Month, but it is always recommended to stay on top of annual check-ups.
Many might have felt anxious about visiting the doctor this past year, but this is a reminder to not avoid a routine health maintenance, even during the ongoing pandemic.
Women’s Health Physician at UTRGV School of Medicine, Doctor Elissa Serapio, said that people younger than 25 should get an annual STI screening, but those with higher risk behavior may need additional screening.
“Because of the pandemic, many people were not coming in person to the clinic to get their screening for routine things. But sometimes sexually transmitted infections are asymptomatic, where the person has the infection and can pass it to others, but they don’t know that they have it,” said Dr. Serapio. “So we’re probably missing a lot of people who weren’t coming in for their annuals.”
Dr. Serapio added that it is recommended that everyone have at least one HIV screening in their lifetime. As well as speaking to a clinician about sexual activity to ensure that the patient is getting the correct tests.
“I think that there can be a lot of shame around sexually transmitted infections, but the key thing to know is that it is much better to put the same away and just come in, and get your screening done because then you’re taking care of your own health and helping avoid future complications down the line,” said Dr. Serapio.
In women, untreated STI can cause severe problems in reproductive health. Treatment can be as simple as taking an antibiotic.