At the Pregnancy Clinic, we recommend STD testing prior to abortion to prevent undiagnosed STDs from spreading farther into the reproductive system.1 At most abortion clinics, STD testing prior to an abortion is not a routine procedure.2 Also, the abortion clinic may charge additional fees for testing. We offer free STD testing for women in each of our three locations.
Could I have an STD?
STDs (sometimes called sexually transmitted diseases, STIs, or sexually transmitted infections) are infectious conditions that are passed from one person to another during sexual activity. In the U.S., 1 in 5 people has an STD. In fact, every year there are an estimated 19 million new STD infections in the U.S. alone.3 Nearly half of all new STD cases occur in people ages 15 to 24. If you’ve engaged in any type of sexual activity, you’re at risk for STDs. Condoms provide some degree of protection against the spread of STDs, but STDs – including HIV – can still be transmitted even when condoms are used perfectly.4 Condoms can also slip, break, or have defects. Also, since condoms do not cover the entire genital area, STDs that are spread by skin to skin contact can still be passed even when a condom is used. Some people who are infected do not experience any symptoms, so they may not know they have an STD. It’s important to be tested for STDs to be sure you’re not infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms.
STDs and Abortion
Before you undergo an abortion procedure, it’s important to be tested for STDs. Undiagnosed STDs may cause complications following your abortion procedure, including Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Bacteria can enter the reproductive tract during an abortion procedure leading to a pelvic infection, which is the most common complication of abortion.5,6 Women who have abortions are more likely to develop PID after their procedure.7,8
PID can lead to serious consequences including infertility and ectopic pregnancy. When PID is caused by a chlamydia infection, a woman may be more likely to experience only mild symptoms even when serious damage is being done to her reproductive organs.9
1. Stevenson, M. M., and K. W. Radcliffe. "Preventing pelvic infection after abortion." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine Web site. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8547409?dopt=AbstractPlus. Accessed August 4, 2013.
2. http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/abortion-exams-and-tests Accessed January 31, 2015.
3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm Accessed August 4, 2013.
4. Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention [Workshop June 2000], Summary report of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. DHHS. July 20, 2001.
5. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. National Institutes of Health Medline Plus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pelvicinflammatorydisease.html. Accessed July 20, 2013
6. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pelvic-inflammatory-disease/DS00402. Accessed July 20, 2013.
7. Patel S, Baxi RK, Kotecha PV, Maxumdar VS, Mehta KG, Diwanii M. Association between pelvic inflammatory disease and abortions. Indian J Sex Transm Dis. 2010 Jul-Dec; 31(2): 127–128. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122592/. Accessed August 4, 2013. Pelvic
8. Inflammatory Disease. National Institutes of Health Medline Plus Web site. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pelvicinflammatorydisease.html. Accessed July 20, 2013.
9. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - CDC Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/std/PID/STDFact-PID.htm Accessed August 6, 2013.