March is Sexual Pleasure month, so it follows that April is Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Awareness month. As a naturopathic doctor I do routinely screen for STIs during well women exams and anytime a patient has had a new sexual partner and requests it. With the decrease in frequency of recommended PAPs (reduced from every year to once every 3 years) I think that this issue is extremely important. This is the third straight year that the CDC has reported an increase in the incidence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis infections in the USA and I wonder if the two are linked. Are women going to the doctor for STI screening less frequently now that PAPs are only recommended every 3 years in women who haven’t had an abnormal PAP previously?
Testing for STIs doesn’t require a PAP and can be done with a urine sample and a blood sample for most STIs. Please don’t hesitate to come in and ask about STI screening as this is a growing concern in the US.
Dr. Jamie Brinkley, ND