Nina Anniston

Nina Anniston

Psychological Implications of STD Testing: A Mental Health Services Perspective

  Apr 2, 2024

Traditionally addressed, STDs have been known to mankind ages ago but the widespread was the result of a lack of awareness, understanding, and modern medicines. 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections passed from one partner to another through sexual contact.  

They usually spread via physical or intimate interaction (vaginal, oral, or anal sex).

In this process of testing and diagnosing, the mental health of the individual remains the most neglected even today. 

Recently a study was conducted by the health department STD testing on the impact of these infections on the mental state of the people. 

It stated that an average of 1 million people are infected daily, and this leads to several mental health issues that remain unattended. 

To understand this further, let us dive deeper into the read & understand the interconnection between mental health and STDs.

How Do STDs Affect Mental Health?

Impact on the mental health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are about 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases each year in the United States. 

Although the population has a lot of awareness regarding its effects on physical health, little to nothing is known about the mental well-being aspects. 

The STD diagnosis can be an overwhelming and distressing experience for the individuals affected by the infection.

Some of these impacts are listed below:


The diagnosis often triggers the person to be extremely anxious due to health-related problems, stigmas & myths attached to it.

It can also impact the patient’s relationship with their partners due to experiencing the emotions at the peak.

They can let their intrusive thoughts take over them and have a hard time concentrating on even the basic daily activities.


What starts as a sense of shock later spirals into an ocean of emotions. This includes a sense of guilt, shame, and hopelessness.

The individuals find themselves practicing self-blame and isolation while withdrawing from their interests. 

Unable to cope with daily tasks, studies conducted by the National Institute of Health indicate that 1.7% of STD patients take a drastic step to end their lives.

Low Self-Esteem & Fear Of Judgement

Once the person finds out about his/her test results, feeling scared and worthless becomes obvious. 

It makes them ashamed of themselves and feel undesirable or rejected in the aspects of life & society.

This leads them to isolate themselves from society and erode their self-worth because now they believe that everything is over for them since they are different from others.

Worries About Physical Health

The test results can make the infected individual panic concerning their health. 

Some of them are the progressive stage of the disease, complications associated with it, and the side effects in the long run.

They live in constant fear of having their reproductive organs and genitals damaged with time, as the disease spreads. 

Social Stigmas Associated With STDs

When it comes to accepting someone suffering from STDs, our society tends to become narrow-minded to the point that they disregard feelings.

There are several stigmas & perceptions made up by the community, leading to several false assumptions and mistreatment.

All of this is a result of a lack of awareness, sex education, and support to address the causes of STDs & the methods of prevention.

Did You Know?
Theories have suggested countless reasons for the prevalence of syphilis in Europe in medieval times. One of them proposed that the crew members of Christopher Columbus’ voyages had spread it. 

Addressing Mental Health Problems Linked With STD Testing

STD testing

It is now crucial to address the mental health issues that are linked with STD testing in a more wide-ranging approach.

Several healthcare professionals from the industry now offer help in cases of distress, medications for cures, and much more.

Listed below are some ways to address these problems:

Emotional Support & Developing Coping Skills 

emotional support

Although it may be hard to process & deal with the results of the diagnosis, there are several methods to cope. 

Some of them involve seeking either emotional support from the family or a therapist on a regular or weekly basis to manage negative emotions. 

Maintaining a balanced routine with exercises, healthy eating habits along with stress-reduction strategies like breathing exercises can change the course of the patient’s life.

Education To Spread Awareness 

spread awareness

Instead of shying away from the topic, introduce the concept of sexual health to society via communities, healthcare settings, and institutions. 

Factors like the causes of STDs, their treatments, precautions (like contraceptive options), and basic understanding of the infections.

In this manner, misjudgments can be called out and corrected to promote empathy and acceptance of the affected individuals.

Overcoming STD Stigma

Breaking through the myths & stigmas against STDs requires a lot of courage and understanding. This can be obtained by introducing sex education in the society.

Also, organizing community meetings, virtual awareness events, support networks, and communal role plays helps raise awareness.

Did You Know?
The STI awareness week is observed in April every year. It aims to raise awareness about the causes and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases!


Sexually transferred diseases are spread through sexual contact due to the presence of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. 

As the field of medicine transformed, so did the variety and effectiveness of the medicine reach its maximum potential to fight against STIs. Yet, mental well-being remains the left-out aspect of the individual’s overall state of mind.

It is neglected due to the stigmas and myths revolving around STDs, making the person affected by it ashamed of themselves. 

As a society, we must be emotionally supportive and spread awareness regarding the same.