Do I Need an STD Panel When I Always Practice Safe Sex?

Q: I am a 21-year old female with no known health problems. I have been sexually active since I was 16 years old. I have never had an STD panel test performed. I’ve always used protection, so I’ve never worried about having an STD. Do I need to be tested even though I don’t have any strange symptoms or other indicators of a possible STD? My friend says that I should be tested at least once every year, if not twice. Do I really need to be tested that often when I always practice safe sex?

S. Parker
Richmond, Virginia

A: Using protection definitely is a great way to protect against STDs; however, condoms are not 100% effective. Sometimes condoms can break or be used incorrectly, which can expose you to an infection or virus. Even a slight lapse can be enough for an STD to successfully transmit in some cases. Also, condoms do not fully protect against skin-to-skin transmitted STDs such as herpes. Many STDs do not show symptoms for quite a while, so while it is great that you have not had any outbreaks or signs of an infection it is still a good decision to get tested.

We offer fast, private, and reliable testing. Just call our office to receive a registration number, submit the blood and/or urine sample at your convenience, and then wait for results. We will call you with your results when they are available, which is usually within 1-3 business days of your collection. Please let us know if you have any other questions.