Many STIs are asymptomatic for long periods of time; in other words you are unaware you are infected in your day-to-day life. Because of this, perhaps the main reason people worry about having an STD is the risk of infecting another partner unknowingly.
However, serious additional medical risks also top the list of reasons to get tested. Among these potential consequences are:
Infertility (in both men and women)
- Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea are the most important preventable causes of infertility. Moreover, other infections can increase the risk of miscarriage and pre-term pregnancy.
Increased Risk of Cancer (in both men and women)
- Men with a history of Gonorrhoea are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Persistent HPV (Genital Wart) infections are now recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer, and may play a role in some cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and oropharynx.
Increased Risk of Other Infections, Especially HIV (in both men and women)
- STIs are the primary risk factor in HIV transmission among heterosexuals. Individuals who are infected are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact.
Increased Risk of Mother to Child Transmission and Death or Disability to Your Baby
STIs can directly lead to the following adverse conditions in newborns:
- Severe neurological damage, mental retardation or death.
- Miscarriage, pre-term delivery.
- Blindness, eye infections, pneumonia.
- General deformities, delay in development, seizures.