Is it just us or are you really asking if you can tell if someone has an STD just by looking at them? If so, for the most part, the answer is “no”. In fact, a lot of people who currently are infected with one may not know it either because 1) they don’t get tested on a regular basis or 2) they are asymptomatic (for instance, 90 percent of individuals with genital herpes don’t know that they have it — yet).
The reason why this should be a cause for concern is that reportedly 1 in 2 people will contract an STD by age 25 (crazy, right?), plus there are 20 million new cases of STIs/STDs on an annual basis just within the United States alone. This means that even if you’ve never had an STD before if you’ve had multiple partners, there’s a significant chance that at least one of them has. Talk about a reality check.
How Can You Protect Yourself from STDs?
Should that make you scared to have sex? No. But you do need to be cautious and responsible by doing the following things:
ALWAYS get tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) at least once a year.
Don’t be shy about requesting to see your partner’s STD or STI results before having sex with them.
Use a condom (not some of the time; all of the time).
And, if you notice the following symptoms on you or your partner, don’t have sex until a doctor has checked you/them out — abnormal discharge, strong odor in the genitalia region, itching or burning in the genitalia region, rashes or strange-looking bumps.
Although it’s not a given that these are automatically STD-related symptoms, they aren’t healthy signs either. You’ll need a medical professional who’s good at identifying STDs to put your mind at ease.
Oh, and, perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to have a serious health-related conversation with your partner about sex and STDs or STIs. If you’re willing to share your body with them, you shouldn’t be “afraid” to talk about what’s going on in your mind as it relates to your health and well-being too. Good luck!