November is National Sexual Health Month, and one of the most important factors to maintaining good sexual health is regular STD testing. Planned Parenthood recommends that you get tested once a year at the very least, but there is a common misconception that individuals in relationships are able to forgo this integral part of their health. However, according to most experts, being in a relationship of any length is not a reason to give up testing for good.

Symptomless Diseases

Despite their sometimes serious affects on our overall health, many STDs can be symptomless, which means they can go undetected for years. For example, according to Health NY, 10 to 15 percent of men and 80 percent of women never show any symptoms of gonorrhea, despite present infections. In addition, as many as 50 percent of men and 70 percent of women infected with chlamydia experience no symptoms.

“STDs can absolutely be 'silent' and cause long-term reproductive issues,” Dr. Kameelah Phillips, a Manhattan-based Obstetrician-Gynecologist told Medical Daily. “Some people may not have symptoms depending on the STD. HPV does not present with symptoms for most people. Other STDs may present with vaginal discharge and women assume that the discharge is normal when it may be an STD.”

For this reason, Phillips advises her patients to continue to check themselves for STDs, regardless of their relationship status.


Another reason experts still advise individuals in serious, long-term relationships to get checked for STDs is because infidelity is much more common than you may think. According to a 2015 study, couples in a monogamous relationship are just as likely to get an STD than those who openly have multiple sexual partners. Of the 556 volunteers involved in the study, 351 were in a monogamous relationship and 205 were in consensual, non-monogamous “open” relationships.

As revealed by a survey, about a quarter of the individuals in monogamous relationships also admitted to cheating, but 75 percent reported that their partners had no idea of their infidelity. As a result, there was no measurable difference in STD rates between the two groups.

“It is great to feel confident in your relationship, but I often diagnose new STDs in patients who believed their relationship was monogamous,” Phillips told Medical Daily.

Read More:

Trust No One: You're Just As Likely To Get An STD In A Monogamous Relationship As You Are In An Open One: Read Here

Sexual Relationships: 6 Key Signs Your Partner Is Cheating: Read Here