The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 1 in 5 people in the U.S. has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Due to easy transmission and the fact that STDs can sometimes be present with no symptoms, the CDC recommends STD testing for anyone who is sexually active, particularly for pregnant women.
When being tested for STDs, some women wonder how accurate the tests are. While no test can guarantee accuracy 100% of the time, STD testing usually has high sensitivity and specificity, meaning it can detect STDs reliably. The type of test used depends on which STD is being tested for. STD testing can require a urine sample, blood draw or swab and the samples are processed in a lab.
Why Do I Need to Be Tested During Pregnancy?
Because some STDs can be asymptomatic (have no signs or symptoms), it is important to get tested even if you do not think you have an STD. The importance of STD testing for a woman’s health is even more significant during pregnancy.
If you choose to carry your pregnancy to term, not receiving STD testing endangers the baby as some STDs can be passed from the mother to the baby during pregnancy or delivery. STDs can lead to many complications in an infant.
STD testing is also crucial if you plan to terminate your pregnancy. Having an abortion while infected with STDs can increase your risk of a severe condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause long-term complications like chronic pain and infertility due to scarring.
What Do You Do if You Have a Positive Result?
If you receive a positive STD test result, you will need treatment. Treatment for STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea involves taking an antibiotic before testing again to ensure the STD has cleared. Your partner should also be tested to ensure he does not pass it back to you, as treatment does not provide immunity.
Where Can You Find Testing?
Alpha Center offers free, urine-based STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea to pregnancy-related clients and their partners. If you think you may be pregnant, call us at 605-361-3500 to schedule free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound and STD testing.