Dr. Mary Jane Jenkins with the Yale School of Medicine said it appears that the U.S. is declaring war on women’s healthcare in a time it’s most needed.
In 2017, the Trump administration cut more than $200 in federal funding for reproductive care – money that helped fund programs at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University and many others.
Dr. Minkin said the biggest concerns is the lack of aid for woman’s health care, which also endangers places such as Planned Parenthood where STD screenings are offered. She said without the funding, women are unlikely to seek care for STDs.
Another reason is the lack of coverage or the coverage care costs. Many women want to be tested for STDs but don’t know what their out-of-pocket costs would be, which is why they don’t get tested or don’t see the doctor. She said many patients see out-of-pocket charges for tests like chlamydia and gonorrhea because STDs are no longer a part of the preventative screening process.
(Bear in mind each insurance company offers their own coverage rates, which is why you need to find out what your insurance company offers. If they don’t provide coverage, you can seek out the assistance of low-cost or free screenings from places such as Planned Parenthood.
Minkin said even if a person has no symptoms, the STD can bring great harm to a person’s health such as causing PID, which is an infection that travels from the vagina up to the reproductive organs. A person may not even know they have PID immediately, but it can lead to infertility and chronic pain.
Another factor is that many people are not using condoms when having sex. According to a report, only 24 percent of women said they had a condom in the last sexual encounter, with just 18 percent saying they used one each time they had sex.
The report also showed that women who were using the pill or another birth control method were less likely to use a condom during sex. Condoms are the only thing effective at preventing the spread of STDs.
The best way to prevent STDs is to use a condom. However, if you’re diagnosed with an STD like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea, they can still be treated successfully. The only other way to prevent the spread of STDs is to be tested for them regularly even if you’re supposed to be in a monogamous relationship.
According to the CDC guidelines, people under 25 years of age or with certain risk factors are urged to be tested each year. However, the guideline should also include everyone gets tested each year.
Minkin said, with better STD screening practices, it would be easier to stop the spread of STDs. However, without the screening, there will be a lot of individuals with STDs they don’t know about.
If you’re diagnosed with an STD, get treatment immediately, following up with the doctor to ensure the treatment was successful before you have sex with someone else.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD