A huge part of being a sexually active adult is being proactive about your sexual health. Here’s a list of health tests you should get as a sexually active woman.
1. Pap smear
A Pap smear collects cells from your cervix to test for precancerous or cancerous cells. It is often conflated with the HPV test which specifically tests for the human papillomavirus virus in the cervix. However, both tests have the same purpose to detect abnormality in the cervix. It is recommended that women over 25 get a Pap smear every three years and for younger women who are sexually active, once a year.
2. Pelvic exam
Pelvic exams include an internal and external check of your pelvic organs for any symptoms or changes. This includes the vulva, vagina, cervix and uterus. Pelvic exams are especially recommended when you’re pregnant, experiencing abnormal discharge or bleeding or any other symptoms. Otherwise, pelvic exams can be conducted at the beginning of the year as a reassurance of your sexual and reproductive health.
3. HIV tests
Routine HIV screening should be conducted as often as possible depending on how many partners you have sex with. Medical experts recommend that sexually active people with multiple partners get tested every six months.
4. Genital herpes
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. In women, symptoms may include pain, itching and sores around the vaginal area but sometimes, women do not show any symptoms. It has no known cure and as such prevention tactics like using protection, abstaining from sex and regular screening are encouraged to prevent infection.
Gonorrhoea is a common infectious disease transmitted through sexual intercourse. Oftentimes, it shows no symptoms in women so women with multiple partners should test frequently for gonorrhoea according to health experts.
Chlamydia is another common sexually transmitted infection that may not cause any symptoms. It affects people of all ages but it is particularly common in young women. Sexually active women are encouraged to test for Chlamydia every year.
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