When considering abortion, there are a few steps you should take before pursuing any type of abortion procedure. These steps include getting a pregnancy test, an ultrasound, and tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A pregnancy test and ultrasound make sense, but do you really need testing for STDs?
I DON’T HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. SHOULD I STILL GET TESTED?
Yes! STDs can have a wide range of signs and symptoms, and some people may not experience any symptoms at all. That’s why an infection might go undetected until later complications occur.
If STDs go undiagnosed and untreated, they can pose serious risks to your future reproductive and overall health. Even if you and your partner use protection, such as a latex condom, the risk of exposure is still there.
Common signs and symptoms of an STD could include:
- Sores or bumps on the genitals or in the oral or rectal area
- Painful or burning urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain during sex
- Sore, swollen lymph nodes
- Lower abdominal pain
- Rash on the torso, hands, or feet
STDs are common, especially among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five people in the United States has an STD.
In 2018 alone, there were 68 million known infections in the United States. Of the total infections, 26 million were newly transmitted infections, and half of these new infections occurred among people ages 15-24.
WHAT IF AN STD GOES UNTREATED?
If an STD is left untreated, even asymptomatic STDs, severe complications could occur.
Possible health risks include:
- Pelvic pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Eye inflammation
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Heart disease
- Cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers
WHAT IF I HAVE AN UNTREATED STD AND GET AN ABORTION?
An abortion procedure increases the risk of bacteria from outside the body or from the vagina being carried into the cervix. Instruments passing through the infected area can pass that bacteria into the reproductive system.
Women who have an untreated STD and have an abortion are more likely to develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) following a procedure. Like STDs, PID symptoms may be mild or difficult to recognize, and some women do not initially show any symptoms. When signs and symptoms of PID are present, they often include:
- Pain in your lower abdomen and pelvis
- Abnormal or heavy vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant vaginal odor
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Pain during intercourse
- Fever and chills
- Painful, frequent, or difficult urination
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? GET TESTED TODAY!
The only way to truly know if you have an STD is to be tested. Alpha Center offers free urine-based testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea to our pregnancy-related clients and their partners. These are two of the most common STDs that can be tested using a urine-based sample.
Referrals for full-spectrum STD testing can be provided if you suspect you might have a different STD. If you are not already a pregnancy-related client, please set up an appointment to receive a free, lab-quality pregnancy test.
At your pregnancy test consultation, a client advocate will be able to discuss our STD testing policies and procedures with you. Don’t be left in the dark! Schedule your free consultation today.
“Adolescents and Stds.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Jan. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/stdfact-teens.htm.
“Common STD Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 30 Apr. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/in-depth/std-symptoms/art-20047081.
“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 Apr. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20352594.
“Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Stds).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Sept. 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240.