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Can a Shot Protect Your Sexual Health? Here’s the Scoop on STD Vaccines

Abstinence. Condoms. STD testing.

All of these are tried and true ways to lower STD rates. And soon, new STD vaccines will make an appearance on this list.

Here’s what you need to know about the immunizations that can protect you from STDs.

Continue reading “Can a Shot Protect Your Sexual Health? Here’s the Scoop on STD Vaccines” »

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Top STD Myths Debunked

STDs are a taboo subject for a lot of people. Many people do not feel comfortable discussing this subject with their partners or children, which leads not only to a proliferation of misinformation, but of STDs themselves.

The best way to protect yourself from STDs is to get the facts and bust the myths. ARCpoint Labs is here to help you do just that.

Continue reading “Top STD Myths Debunked” »

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Managing Your STD Risk

June 16-22 marks Healthcare Risk Management Week. One of the most important ways ways to manage health risks is to find ways to lessen your STD risk. ARCpoint Labs is here to help with some ideas to keep you healthy.

Continue reading “Managing Your STD Risk” »

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Are STDs Hereditary? Family Health and Your Sexual Health

Your genetics can increase your risk of developing many medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Other diseases, like Huntington’s disease or Marfan’s disease, are directly caused by a mutated gene passed down through generations.

Fortunately, sexually transmitted diseases are not among the list of medical problems that are hereditary. This doesn’t mean that your family’s sexual health doesn’t affect you, though.

Continue reading “Are STDs Hereditary? Family Health and Your Sexual Health” »

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Men & Women: Do You Know When to Get STD Testing?

We’ve declared March the time to focus on cleaning up your body and taking control of your health. This not only includes eating healthier, exercising more, and cluing yourself in to your health risk factors, but also monitoring your sexual health.

Sure, you may know why it’s important to get tested for STDs, but do you know when you should get STD testing? We’re sharing the details below.

Continue reading “Men & Women: Do You Know When to Get STD Testing?” »

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STDs & Pregnancy: How Your Sexual Health Affects Your Baby

When you’re pregnant, it’s important more than ever to take good care of your body. You’re providing the environment for your baby to develop, and it’s your responsibility to eat well, drink lots of water, abstain from drugs and alcohol, arm yourself against infections, and follow appropriate dietary restrictions.

One aspect of pregnant womens’ health that can sometimes get overlooked, however, is their sexual health. Pregnant women can get STDs or experience an inflammation of a previous STD, and the results can be life-threatening for both the pregnant mother and her child.

Continue reading “STDs & Pregnancy: How Your Sexual Health Affects Your Baby” »

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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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U.S. Teens at Higher Risk Than Ever for Contracting Genital Herpes

According to research published in the online version of the Journal of Infectious Diseases in October, today’s U.S. teens are more vulnerable to genital herpes than they were in the past. This is likely a result of lower immune system antibodies that are supposed to shield them against the virus that causes genital herpes.

Why are teens at higher risk for genital herpes?

One of the possible causes of reduced level of these antibodies is that fewer teens get exposed to the herpes simplex virus type I (HSV-1) during childhood. This is a common cause of cold sores.

One decade ago, more teens would have been exposed to HSV-1 and developed some immunity to it. Now, it might be that fewer teens have built immunity — so they are more vulnerable to genital herpes when they become sexually active.

teens more at risk for genital herpes

Genital herpes strains

There are eight types of herpes, but the two that are connected to the disease transmission that we are concerned with are

HSV-1 is usually contracted in childhood. Skin-to-skin contact with an infected adult is the most common way for children to be infected. HSV-2, on the other hand, is usually transmitted via sexual contact. It seems that HSV-1 is now starting to cause genital herpes.HSV-1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2.) These two strains cause lifelong infections.

According to the research, HSV-1 is a cause of genital herpes in industrialized countries. The growing trend for young people to be involved in oral sex might be one cause of this shift.

Why are teens more susceptible to genital herpes now?

The recent research suggests that fewer teens have been exposed to HSV-1. That means that fewer U.S. teens have protective HSV-1 antibodies. So, their first sexual encounter leaves them more likely to be infected with genital herpes than teens in the recent past.

Are you worried that you or your teen might have genital herpes? There are affordable testing options that are reliable — find the ARCpoint Labs location near you and call to learn more about genital herpes testing services.

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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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STDs in Hiding: Genital Herpes

Many people today are unaware they have genital herpes because they are not familiar with the symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of genital herpes are basically the same for both women and men, and we will go into a more in depth discussion of these symptoms in this article.

team hiding faces hidden std concept

Common symptoms of genital herpes:

  • oblong sores around genital area
  • burning or itching sensation in the infected area
  • fever or flu-like symptoms
  • achy muscles

If you experience the above symptoms together, you should get tested and seek medical attention.

There currently is no cure for the genital herpes virus, however early detection and treatment can result in a better controlled and less painful experience. Different types of medication can alleviate the discomfort and swelling that accompanies this virus. The first outbreak is often the most painful, and as years pass the outbreaks  tend to get more bearable with the proper medication.

Living with genital herpes

Each person is affected by genital herpes is different ways. Some people experience outbreaks every single month, while others get it once a year or go years without any effects of the virus. Medications can help keep the outbreaks and pain to a minimum.

Anyone affected by genital herpes should always wear a condom during intercourse. Condoms can prevent the spreading of the virus but do not absolutely eliminate the chance of spreading the disease. The condom has tiny microscopic pores that can allow the virus to seep through and to an uninfected partner. Although it can help prevent the spread, do not rely on condoms to keep a partner from contracting herpes.

Testing for genital herpes

Testing is an important step if you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease. Without testing, you’ll be guessing at your condition. Before beginning treatment, you must know if you have genital herpes. For confidential and convenient genital herpes testing, visit the ARCpoint Labs facility near you.

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