It is good to see that you are concerned about your sexual health. Generally, I recommend that sexually active people get tested for STDs and HIV once per year, including HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas, and syphilis. These infections may not have obvious symptoms, though at times they can. You should get sooner if you have symptoms such as smelly or discolored (yellow, green or gray) vaginal discharge, pain with vaginal intercourse, sores around your vagina, pelvic pain, or fevers, chills, night sweats, and weight loss
Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common STDs to cause pelvic inflammatory disease (abbreviated PID). PID describes an infection that generally starts in the vaginal or cervix (the lower part of the uterus), and then moves upward toward the upper part of the uterus and can move from the fallopian tubes out into the pelvis. Signs of pelvic inflammatory disease include pelvic pain, fever
, vaginal discharge, and pain with sexual intercourse. However, other conditions could also cause these symptoms. Therefore, you should see your gynecologist or primary care doctor
so that he or she can perform a pelvic exam and blood or urine tests. The pelvic exam is important for two reasons: it allows the doctor to see if your cervix is tender, which is a good indicator of PID, and also to get samples for testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia. There is also a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Syphilis and HIV are tested with a blood test.
You can protect yourself from STDs by using a latex condom EVERY time you have intercourse, and by minimizing the number of sexual partners you have.