Next Steps if You Might Have an STD • The Pregnancy Network

Next Steps if You Might Have an STD

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If you think you may have an STD, you are not alone. The Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in America, half among young people ages 15–24. 

If you are sexually active, we recommend that you talk to your doctor about STD screening. It may feel too personal to talk to your doctor about your sex life, but being open and honest is the only way your doctor can provide the care you need. Your doctor can help you know which tests you should make an appointment for. Your doctor can also recommend how often you might need testing, depending on your sexual history and your partner’s sexual history. Talk to your doctor to find out what tests make sense for you.

You can also come to The Pregnancy Network for a free STD test, or to talk to one of our trained peer-advocates to see if you need to get tested. To make a free and confidential appointment, call 336-274-4881 or visit ThePregnancyNetwork.org/appointment

STD Symptoms

Tiffany Hanes, RN is the Nurse Manager at our Winston-Salem location. She shared that for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, there are often no signs or symptoms. 

In regards to symptoms that may result from Chlamydia, Tiffany shared, “Chlamydia is the most common STI/STD. Often there are no signs or symptoms, but in some cases women may experience one of the following:

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Itching or burning around the vaginal area
  • Vaginal swelling 
  • A burning sensation with urination 

Tiffany also noted, “Chlamydia symptoms, if any, may not show up for several weeks after you have been exposed.” 

In regards to Gonorrhea, Tiffany shared that this STD “may appear like a common yeast infection. Gonorrhea symptoms, if any, usually occur 2-14 days after exposure and may include: 

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (which may be watery, green, or creamy)
  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating 
  • Urge to urinate more frequently
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Heavier periods or vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever

Tiffany noted that while there are no at-home remedies for these STI/STDs, both are treatable with the correct antibiotics. 

Free STD Testing at The Pregnancy Network

At The Pregnancy Network, we offer women free testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Our registered nurses administer tests and treatment for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and can answer the questions you may have about your sexual health. Your appointment is always confidential. 

In the video below, we’ll walk you through what to expect at an appointment for an STD test at The Pregnancy Network. 

Why is STD Testing Important? 

STD testing is so important because left untreated, STDs can cause immediate and long-term health risks. STDs can cause cancer, widespread infection, organ damage, pelvic inflammatory disease, and reproductive health complications. 

If you have an STD, risky sexual behavior can result in infection from other STDs, including HIV. Additionally, infection with some STDs makes it easier for you to get HIV if you are exposed.

What if I test positive?

If your test results are positive for an infection, treatment for Chlamydia and/or Gonorrhea will be available to you at a later appointment. Treatment will be provided by one of our registered nurses.

A one-time dose of an oral antibiotic is usually the treatment provided for Chlamydia. Gonorrhea is treated with a single injection of one antibiotic. For Gonorrhea and Chlamydia together, one oral antibiotic and one injection are provided.

Free treatment can only be provided to clients who have also had STD testing at The Pregnancy Network. 

What if I’m pregnant and test positive for an STD?

The health risks posed by STDs are the same for both women who are pregnant and who are not.  But, having an STD can affect your baby’s health during pregnancy. Having an STD during pregnancy can cause early labor, a woman’s water to break early, and infection in the uterus after the birth.

Some STDs can be passed from a pregnant woman to the baby before and during the baby’s birth and cause harmful effects. Thankfully, if the mother receives routine prenatal care, some of these problems can be prevented. This routine prenatal care should include screening for STDs early in pregnancy, and potentially a repeat screening close to delivery. If an infection is found at birth, treatment is available. 

For this and other information regarding STDs, visit CDC.gov. 

Every time you have sex, unless you are in a monogamous relationship (like marriage) with an uninfected partner, you put yourself at risk for an STD. If you have questions about your sexual health, TPN’s registered nurses and trained peer-advocates are here to help. 

To make an appointment for free STD testing, visit ThePregnancyNetwork.org/appointment or give us a call at 336-274-4881. Our free services for STD testing, pregnancy testing, and limited OB ultrasounds are available at one of our three locations in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and on our Mobile Unit. 

Kacey Minor

Kacey Minor

Kacey is the Interim Communications Manager at The Pregnancy Network.