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Archive for the 'AIDs' Category

Ways to Celebrate World AIDS Day

December 1 marks an important moment in the fight against HIV/AIDS: it’s World AIDS Day, a time for remembrance and education.

We’re sharing 4 ways you can celebrate World AIDS Day this year.

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Celebrate AIDS Awareness This September: Learn the Basics on AIDS

September features two days important to the AIDS awareness cause: National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on the 18th and National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day on the 27th.

While most people know that AIDS is a very serious condition, many don’t know much about it. Today, ARCpoint Labs shares the basics on AIDS.

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What STDs Are Spread Through Blood?

You probably already know that STDs are transmitted through sexual contact. But did you know that some STDs can be transmitted through contact with blood?

Join ARCpoint Labs today as we share important information about bloodborne viruses (BBVs). We’ll also look at ways that you can protect yourself.

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STD Prevention for Travellers

July is peak season for vacationing. While on vacation, many of us find ourselves in a more relaxed state, enjoying tropical drinks, warm weather, and a slower pace. Unfortunately, this relaxed mind frame sometimes carries over to cause reduced vigilance about STD prevention.

It’s important that you make efforts to stay healthy while you are traveling. Here are some of the ways that you can work on STD prevention on vacation

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Four Reasons You Need to Get Tested for HIV Today

Affordable HIV testing services | ARCpoint Labs

All too often, people only think about the fun part of having sex, not the repercussions. Engaging in sexual relationships comes with many responsibilities that people often fail to think about.

One responsibility that comes with sex is keeping yourself and others free from harmful diseases such as HIV. According to some reports, as many as 20 percent of the people who have HIV don’t know it.

Fortunately, people can pursue HIV testing to help combat the spread of this potentially devastating disease. Here are some reasons why HIV testing is so vital for safeguarding your health.

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STDs and Cancer Risk: How Does Sexual Health Affect Overall Health?

In 2012, President Barack Obama declared April as Cancer Control Month, a time to spotlight and celebrate the many advancements in cancer treatment, including important prevention efforts such as cancer screenings.

Although most people are very aware of cancer and its affects on people, many are not aware of how their actions and other aspects of their health can increase their cancer risk. When it comes to your sexual health and cancer risk, you should be aware that contracting an STD can increase your risk for many types of cancer.

Here’s the low-down on STDs and cancer risk.

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STD Rates on the Rise Among Senior Citizens

STDs are often thought of as a problem for younger generations to deal with. After all, isn’t most unsafe sex practiced by young adults? Surely, older generations are more aware of the dangers of STDs and how to protect themselves from the spread of infectious sexual diseases.

It seems these assumptions aren’t true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates among senior citizens are on the rise. In fact, their STD rates have increased enough to tie young adults aged 20 – 24 for the largest increase in STDs over 4 years. As senior citizens are living longer, healthier lives, their sexual activity has increased, leading to a rise in STD rates.

Are you a sexually active senior citizen? In addition to hepatitis C, there are a number of STDs your generation is spreading. Educate yourself on STD rates among your age group and learn how you can stop the spread.

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Why STD Testing is Important for Women

ARCpoint Labs | Why STD Testing is Important for WomenIf you’re a woman who has never contracted an STD, you might wonder why STD testing is important for you. Even if you’ve only slept with a few trusted partners or one person, you can catch an STD without knowing it — even from something so innocent as receiving a kiss on the cheek. Many people are unaware how easy it is to contract an STD, especially from someone who hasn’t completed STD testing and isn’t aware that they have the STD in the first place.

When you consider that more than 110 million Americans have an STD and an estimated 19 million more are infected per year, STD testing doesn’t seem like an unnecessary step. The likelihood that you know someone who currently has an STD constantly rises.

Still, many women think that STDs can’t or won’t happen to them. Wondering why you should consider STD testing? Here’s why.

STD Testing: Why It’s Necessary for Women

Unknowing Carriers

You might think that STD testing isn’t needed because your sexual partner(s) will let you know if they have or have had an STD. But just because someone has an STD doesn’t mean that they know it — only STD testing will reveal the truth. Many STDs have few symptoms or symptoms that are easily confused with other infections, including:

  • GonorrheaGonorrhea symptoms include pain and burning in urination, yellow or bloody discharge, abdominal pain, or heavy menstrual flow. Without STD testing, symptoms of this STD are often confused with bladder infection.
  • Chlamydia: 3/4 of women who have chlamydia exhibit and experience no symptoms, which is why STD testing is vital. Those who do have symptoms may also confuse them with symptoms of a bladder infection — including abnormal discharge from the vaginal, a burning sensation during urination, and spotting between menstruation.
  • Herpes: Symptoms of this STD, including  sores or rashes on your vagina or back, vaginal discharge, headaches, fever, muscle aches, and pain while urinating, may come and go as the years pass. Still, even when you do not exhibit signs of herpes, the virus remains in your nerve cells and can ultimately increase your risk of contracting HIV — which shows why STD testing is so important.
  • HIV: Research has shown that 21% of people in the US who are infected with HIV haven’t undergone STD testing and are thus undiagnosed. HIV symptoms, such as extreme exhaustion, rapid weight loss, fevers, night swears, diarrhea, coughing, and yeast infections, may not appear for years. This means that HIV-positive people could be unknowingly spreading the disease to others.

With STD testing, you will know if you or your sexual partner(s) have contracted any diseases in the past, which will prevent you from further spreading the infection.

Affects of STDs

STD testing does more than prevent the spread of diseases — it can also help you get treatment more quickly, which can prevent your STD from resulting in a very serious health problem. From infertility to cervical cancer to death, there are many long-term medical affects of STDs that can be avoided with simple STD testing. These affects include:

  • Chlamydia: If chlamydia spreads to your uterus or fallopian tubes, it may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. This disease is not easily cured and can permanently damage your fallopian tubes and uterus, leading to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, or even fatal ectopic pregnancy. After a positive diagnosis through STD testing, you can treat your chlamydia and prevent these outcomes.
  • Herpes: If you give birth vaginally when you have unknowingly carried the herpes virus, your baby could suffer blindness. STD testing is key when it comes to identifying and treating herpes.
  • Genital HPV: Some strains of HPV are linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, and anal cancer, all of which have the potential to be fatal. When you and your partner receive STD testing, you can seek treatment for HPV if necessary.
  • HIV: When you contract HIV, your immune system weakens and makes you prone to contracting infections. HIV can lead to AIDS, a severe and often fatal autoimmune disorder. STD testing will help diagnose your HIV — and though there is currently no known cure for the disease, you can seek treatment to slow its progression.

These are just a few of the conditions that can result from STDs — there are countless other affects that could be treated or avoided by STD testing.

Get STD Testing Today

Ready to take charge of your health? ARCpoint Labs offers comprehensive STD testing at many of its facilities nationwide. Click here to see if STD testing is available at the ARCpoint location near you.

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Ways to Prevent STDs

According to a study in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, more than 110 million people in the United States alone have sexually transmitted diseases, and 20 million more people get new infections every year. Not only are the physical and personal effects of these STDs astronomical–the lifetime cost of treating 20 million additional STDs per year is $16 billion! There are easy ways to prevent STDs, which makes these facts even harder to swallow.

Imagine the medical and monetary benefits if we focused on ways to prevent STDs. With the right education, people can understand how to change their sexual behaviors and prevent STDs. Read to learn more about how to protect yourself and your sexual partner(s) and prevent STDs.

Prevent STDs by…

Always wearing a condom or dental dam.

Ways to Prevent STDs | ARCPoint LabsCondoms act as barriers to stop blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from passing between people during sex and thus prevent STDs. If your partner is infected with HIV, bodily fluids like these contain the virus, and if you are having unprotected sex, the HIV can spread to you.

Although even a condom does not prevent STDs 100%, risks are greatly reduced if you use the condom properly. Use the FDA’s condom shopping guide to pick the right protection for you, then be sure to store your condoms correctly, use a new condom every time you have sex, and follow the instructions for proper condom use. Get educated on condom use and prevent STDs!

You can also prevent STDs by properly wearing a dental dam when having oral sex with your partner. They work similarly, preventing the spread of fluids from genitals to oral cavities.

Getting yourself & your partner(s) tested.

Before you commit to having sex with someone–no matter how long you’ve known them or how much you trust them–it’s a good idea to go and get tested together and prevent STDs. You or your partner could unknowingly have an STD from a past sexual encounter. For this method to work effectively you must be willing to have an open discussion about your sexual histories. If you are both committed to staying open and healthy, it will be easier to prevent STDs. Check out the ARCPoint lab near you to get a private, low-cost STD test for you and your partner.

Getting treated or vaccinated.

Vaccination is another way to prevent STDs from spreading, though not all sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented using this method. Hepatitis B and HPV are some of the STDs that can be prevented by the use of vaccine. Most infants are vaccinated for Hepatitis B at birth, while HPV vaccination is recommended for males and females ages 11 to 26. Getting vaccinated will help prevent STDs.

If you or your partner exhibits any signs of sexually transmitted diseases such as sores in around the genitals or pain while passing urine, be sure seek medical attentions and adhere to the treatment prescribed by a doctor. Getting treated will lessen your chances of re-infection, stop the spread, and prevent STDs.

Prevent STDs today

Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent STDs–but if you follow the above tips for safe sexual interactions, you will still be able to enjoy intercourse with your partner and prevent STDs.

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Rest In Peace, Spencer Cox

This week, the battle against HIV and AIDS took a major hit when activist Patrick “Spencer” Cox, passed away. Cox, 44, died of an AIDS-related illness in Manhattan.  He discovered he was HIV positive when he moved to New York in his 20s, causing him to shift his focus as an aspiring playwright and actor to fighting the deadly disease.

A voice for others

For nearly 25 years, Cox was a voice for those who suffered from the disease. At age 20 he joined the AIDS Coalition to Unlease Power, or ACT Up, an organization the works to get government and private institutions to do more for AIDS research, treatment, and prevention. He was part of the group that started Treatment Action Group, or TAG, that helps advancements in treatment.

The research Cox did, and his constant fight to create a better world for AIDS victims, drew the attention of his peers.

“He wanted the facts and was always very meticulous about getting good data rather than just screaming for getting something approved. It’s a great loss. He was part of a historic group of people,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (source).

“He saved the lives of millions, but he couldn’t save his own,” said Mr. Mark Harrington, the executive director of TAG.

Why Cox is an inspiration

Rather than sit and suffer in his own affliction, Cox dedicated his life to making things better for those with HIV or AIDS. And all the way to the end, Cox didn’t know what the future held, but he knew he had to live his life to the fullest.

“You keep going. You keep evolving. You keep progressing. You keep hoping until you die, which is going to happen some day. You make your life as meaningful as you can make it.” – Spencer Cox (source) 

Our hope is to one day see a world without AIDS. But until we get there, we’re on a mission to offer rapid HIV testing to prevent this virus from progressing into the deadly disease.

 

 

 

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