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The HIV Vaccine: What You Should Know 

Immunizations have the power to prevent an array of diseases. Unfortunately, no HIV vaccine currently exists.

There is hope, though: scientists around the world believe that they can develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine. In fact, they are working tirelessly to develop one. If they succeed, the HIV vaccine may be able to end the pandemic.

Here’s what you should know about the possibility of an HIV vaccination.

Continue reading “The HIV Vaccine: What You Should Know ” »

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What Might Happen if You Delay STD Testing

While regular STD testing is a must for sexually active adults, it’s more often done in theory, but not in practice.
We have written before about reasons individuals might delay STD testing — and why their reasons aren’t valid. Now we’re sharing how avoiding STD testing can negatively impact you.

Continue reading “What Might Happen if You Delay STD Testing” »

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Are You Increasing Your Risk of Prostate Cancer?

September is the official Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn the basics on the disease, including its risk factors.

Men should know that a having a common STD — trichomoniasis — can put them at risk for the most fatal type of prostate cancer, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Here’s what men need to know about the link between STDs and prostate cancer.

Continue reading “Are You Increasing Your Risk of Prostate Cancer?” »

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Preventing Cervical Cancer With STD Testing

Did you know that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month? That makes it a perfect time for women to educate themselves on the causes of cervical cancer, including strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Although an HPV vaccination is available, the STD is still extremely common — almost every person who is sexually active will face exposure at some point.

Around 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Fortunately, it can be prevented or treated if it is caught early enough. In honor of Cervical Health Awareness month, here are some steps to take to support your cervical health.

Preventing Cervical Cancer

Get Screened Regularly

ARCpoint Labs | Preventing Cervical Cancer With STD TestingBetween the ages of 21 and 65, women should get regular cervical cancer screenings. The most common type of cervical cancer screening is the pap smear, which looks for precancers, which are cellular changes on the cervix that could develop into cervical cancer without treatment. Starting at age 21 you should receive a pap smear once per year; continue having them until you turn 65, even if you are not sexually active. Catching the problem early on through screenings can help you better treat cervical cancer.

Another cervical cancer screening is the HPV test. HPV is the root of cellular changes, so its presence can indicate the possibility of cervical cancer. Although HPV is widespread and can stay in your system for two years, it doesn’t have noticeable symptoms, which means many people may not know that they have the virus. That’s why getting screened for the causes of cervical cancer is so important.

Get Your HPV Vaccination

HPV vaccination, which is administered in three shots over 6 months, can protect against HPV infection, which in turn helps prevent cervical cancer. The ideal time to be vaccinated is at age 11 or 12 for girls and boys, but males can seek vaccination through age 21, and females through age 26. Cervarix and Gardasil are the two HPV vaccines that protect women against cervical cancer.

Get STD Testing

Even though you may think you don’t need STD testing, the truth is that everyone — even those who have never been sexually active — is at risk for HPV and other STDs. You can get tested specifically for causes of cervical cancer like HPV, but it’s also a good idea to get tested for other STDs. Detecting and treating your STDs will improve your overall health.

Prevent Cervical Cancer – Get STD Testing at ARCpoint Labs Today!

At ARCpoint Labs, we care about your total wellness, including your cervical health. Early detection and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases leads to a healthier you, which is why many of our locations offer comprehensive STD testing.

Find the ARCpoint Lab near you and get reliable, confidential STD testing done today!

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Male Contraceptive Pill: The Future of Contraception?

The idea of oral contraception for men is not new. Scientists have been targeting this concept for years, but certain hurdles continue to be unmet.

Recent news suggests that researchers have made significant breakthroughs.

The Australian researchers believe that a contraceptive pill for males could be possible within the next 10 years.

Contraceptive-Pils

Challenges Developing Male Oral Contraception

Previous attempts at discovering a drug for male-targeted contraception have failed for a few reasons. Many attempts have undesirable long-term effects on male fertility. Some strategies fail because of potential damaging effects on future offspring.

A Different Attempt

Dr. Sab Ventura and Dr. Carl White of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Australia lead the team that made the recent discovery that differs from most previous attempts.

“But the researchers say they have discovered a male contraceptive target within the autonomic nervous system – a control system that affects sexual arousal, among other functions.”

According to the study, no negative effects on the sexual behavior or function were found. This research will be the base for further studies that attempt to develop a safe, effective male contraceptive pill.

Contraception Today

While we’re talking about the future of contraception methods, we should mention the importance of using the right forms of contraception now.

Our safe sex habits will likely change in the coming decades. For now, however, we rely on the current forms. Some contraceptive methods also help prevent the transmission of STDs. Read the following articles to learn how this works:

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Grading Sexual Health at College: Top Ten Released

report card grades

The results are in.

Which U.S. college ranks number one in sexual health?

The 2013 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card revealed the schools that are doing the best with providing sexual health resources — and the schools that have room for improvement.

Princeton University takes the number one spot this year from the University of Illinois, who moved to number 6 this year.

How the Grades Were Calculated

The researchers gathered data from 140 university student health centers and investigated their services. Each school received a rating in 11 categories.

So, if we’re determining the best way for colleges to provide sexual health resources, what should we look at? Here are the 11 categories used in the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card:

  • Hours of operation
  • Allow drop-ins or require appointments for student scheduling
  • Quality of sexual health information and resources on website
  • Contraceptive availability — free or at cost
  • Condom availability — free or at cost
  • HIV testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
  • STI testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
  • Lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education
  • Sexual assault programs, resources or services
  • Overall website usability and quality
  • Extra credit

Sexual Health: At the Top and the Bottom

How did the group of national universities do in this slightly unusual competition?

Some colleges that win big on the field are at the top, while others got lower grades. The full sexual health grade report list can be found in the research, but we’ll give you the highlights.

Sexual Health Report Card: Top Five Colleges

1. Princeton University

2. Columbia University

3. University of Arizona

4. University of Iowa

5. Brown University

Sexual Health Report Card: Bottom Five Colleges

136. University of New Orleans

137. Troy State University

138. Providence College

139. Chicago State University

140. Brigham Young University

Why the Sexual Health Report Card Matters

This research is more than simply giving universities another title to boast about along with their national accreditation and honors.

We find this research so important because it points out the importance of sexual health, especially for college-aged adults.

This study looked at three main areas: sexual health education, sexual health testing and prevention education. We agree that those are important focus areas. You can find more resources about specific STDs on our blog, and as always, contact us if you need STD testing.

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Sexual Health Myths

Your doctor is the best source of information about your sexual health. So, why do you trust rumors, social media or the new friend you made at that party last Friday?

Everything you hear about sexual health is not true.

Some myths about sexual health refuse to die down. To combat those pesky rumors and ongoing myths, we’ve put together a list of three common myths and the facts that debunk them.

woman telling lies myths

Sexual Health Myths Debunked

Sexual Health Myth #1 – Women need a pap smear when they turn 18

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised the recommendation for Pap tests. The test is recommended for women who have been sexually active for about three years, or when they turn 21.

An early Pap test probably won’t be particularly harmful. However, the anticipation of the test may make young women uncomfortable and less likely to ask questions. The recommendation for tests to begin at age 21 is safe.

Continue reading “Sexual Health Myths” »

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CDC takes to Twitter with #CDCchat on HPV

Twitter isn’t just for reading the latest pop news first or informing all your friends what you ate for lunch. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is using the social media platform to address the growing need for HPV vaccination.

twitter chatCDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden hosted the Twitter chat on July 29. His main focus was to discuss how the CDC can work with parents and doctors to protect young adults from cancers caused by HPV and to increase HPV vaccination rates.

Before the live chat, CDC tweeted a Vine video, sharing that the organization had its first video on a new Vine account. Dr. Tom Frieden used his Twitter handle, @DrFriedenCDC, to start the discussion. He welcomed five CDC experts to the chat.

According to CDC, “vaccine-preventable HPV infections in teen girls have decreased by more than half since we started vaccinating against HPV in 2006.” This is great news, but it also reminds us that we have more work to do. Two-thirds of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 have received the full HPV vaccination series.

Dr. Frieden tweeted the following fact at the beginning of the chat:

He addressed the common viruses and cancers often associated with HPV in women.

He then shared that HPV affects men, as well.

CDC then noted that the coverage could be dramatically increased if young teens got the HPV vaccine each time they got any other vaccine.

We love that organizations are talking about the  need for higher HPV vaccination rates. Taking this discussion to Twitter is just one way to increase the public knowledge of the link between HPV and cancer.

Prevention starts with knowledge. Know your STD status by getting convenient testing with ARCpoint Labs STD testing.

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New Approaches to Promoting Safe Sex

Organizations around the world are addressing the need for increased awareness of safe sex habits. Instead of simply providing free condoms and reading material, many are creating interesting campaigns. They’re trying to surprise people and keep their attention.

safe sex habits condomsInnovative ways to promote safe sex

Here are some of the ways groups and organizations are promoting safe sex habits to people of all ages.

Safe sex…going social?

Social media lovers, take note: There is now a way to share your intimate details online.  Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest (PPGNW) launched a campaign to encourage protected sex.

PPGNW distributed condoms with QR codes on the packaging. Users could scan the code with their smartphone and check in online.The website, wheredidyouwearit.com, then displayed the details on a map in the same general area that the user checked-in. In the description of the website’s purpose, they state that “You should be proud to wear protection.” They include details of sexually transmitted diseases and encourage users to be a part of making the use of condoms normal.

Condom company with a mission

Talia Frenkel was so impacted by her work with the Red Cross that she decided to build a company based on building a female-friendly condom made of high quality materials and addressing women and girls affected by HIV/AIDS.

According to Frenkel, her company, L, stands for “stands for challenging existing ideas and believing in women as catalysts for change and development.” L offers products in stores and online, as well as offering monthly subscriptions that includes deliveries and discounts.

Wrap video

A New Orleans-based organization is on a mission to promote condom use in the area. The organization, CHAT NOLA, recently made a rap video called “When the Rubba Hits the Road” with lyrics stressing the importance of condom use. The funny video isn’t just for laughs. but it is an important part of the organization’s dedication to educating young people about safe sex habits.

Learning about safe sex habits is the one part of preventing STDs. Knowing your current sexual health status is another important part. Contact ARCpoint Labs for information about convenient and affordable STD testing. 

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Birth Control vs STD Prevention – Part 1

I read this week that STD prevention funding is dwindling. Isn’t that crazy? Statistics on STDs , to me, would clearly show the NEED for continued education on the topic. However, not everyone agrees with me. So, I’ll just take it upon myself to continue providing education through this blog about STDs.

Today I want to cover something new for us: STD prevention. We’ve talked a lot about understanding each STD & how it works – but we’ve not covered how to prevent them … or what’s not preventing them.

So enjoy part 1 of “Birth control vs STD control.” Today we’ll cover the different birth control methods out there. Tomorrow we’ll review what really IS working to prevent STDs … and what’s ONLY to be used for contraception.

birth-control-vs-std-prevention

Birth Control Methods

Let’s go ahead and get the giggles out. This is going to feel like a little like sex-ed class. However hopefully since it’s online, it’s not as awkward. At least we hope so. Here are some of the most popular birth control methods as of late:

Condom (male & female)

This is probably the most common form of birth control. There are male & female condoms; male condoms are the most widely-used. Female condoms are made of rubber, inserted into the vagina before intercourse and removed immediately after. Male condoms may be made of latex or polyurethane. There are also natural or lambskin condoms. Just google them and you’ll see a very wide variety of options – each claiming to offer some unique “advantage” to their brand. Male condoms are also disposed of immediately after intercourse.

Birth control pills

Condoms are the most common birth control method that men use; birth control pills are one of the most common among women. Physicians may prescribe these pills that contain hormones that prevent ovulation. Regularly taking one pill each day of the week (optimally at the same time of the day) decreases changes of pregnancy.

Sponges

Sponges are an alternative to a female condom, yet also found over the counter. Any Seinfeld fans now thinking of the episode with Eliane and the sponge?  The sponge for contraception blocks, absorbs and releases agents that kill sperm. The Today Sponge is the only product currently approved for use in the U.S.

Diaphragms (and cervical caps/shields)

Diaphragms differ from female condoms because you need a doctor to fit you for one. Many come in the form of cups, or some are even smaller than that – for example, thimble-sized. Spermicide goes onto these contraptions and kills sperm as it enters the vagina, thus preventing pregnancy. Doctors may prescribe FemCap or Lea’s Shield, or a generic version of the two.

Ring (NuvaRing)

Women who prefer not to take pills may opt for the ring. It is worn for 3 weeks (removed the 4th week for menstruation.) It releases hormones that prevent ovulation.

The patch

Many women choose to wear the patch as a birth control method. This prescribed patch contains hormones that prevent ovulation.

Shot/injections Or IUDs

Women who really want a “fix it & forget it” solution to birth control may opt for a shot/injection or IUD. The shot or injection (brand name is Depo-Provera) will stop ovaries from producing eggs. This method requires receiving shots around every every 3 months or so.

The IUD, or intrauterine device, is implanted by a physician. This rod will create a thicker lining of mucus in the cervix. It will also prevent implantation in the event fertilization does occur.

Abstinence

Of course, we have to mention the tried-and-true method of birth control:  abstinence. Not having any form of sexual intercourse is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy … or STD.

Which birth control methods prevent STDs?

So – now that you know all of the ways to prevent contraception, which ones prevent STDs? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out…

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