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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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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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Know Your STDs and How to Prevent Them: Chlamydia

It’s not exactly pleasant to think about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but it’s important to know your facts. Knowledge is power when it comes to prevention and treatment, and that’s why we at ARCpoint Labs are here. Read up, and take control of your sexual health.

One of the most common STDs is chlamydia.  According to the CDC, there are as many as 2.8 million new cases in the United States every year.

What causes chlamydia?

Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect the urethra, rectum and eyes in men and women, as well as the cervix in women.

How can I get it?

Chlamydia is spread via vaginal, anal or oral sex. It can also be spread from eye to eye simply by touch, sharing towels or makeup, and by coughing or sneezing.  Chlamydia can also be passed to an infant during childbirth.

How will I know if I have it?

Symptoms of chlamydia typically emerge one to three weeks after infection, but in some cases they don’t show up until later.

Many women don’t show any symptoms at all, which is why the disease is known as the “Silent Epidemic.”  Possible symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, pain during sex, fever, pain during urination, or the urge to urinate more frequently.

Symptoms in men include pain or burning during urination, abnormal discharge from the penis, swollen or tender testicles and fever.

What are the complications?

In women, untreated chlamydia can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can cause scarring of the reproductive organs, chronic pelvic pain, fertility issues, and complications in pregnancy.

In men, the infection can spread to the testicles, causing a condition called epididymitis, which can in rare cases cause sterility if not treated within six to eight weeks.  Chlamydia is also related to inflammation of the prostate.

Is it treatable?

Yes, chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics.

How can I prevent it?

Use a condom every time you have sex.

How can I get tested?

ARCpoint Labs offers twenty testing locations across the United States. We offer secure specimen control, accurate and reliable results, and complete confidentiality at low prices without the hassle or cost of a doctor’s visit.  Use the drop-down menu at the top of this page under Prevention Sites or visit our website to find a location near you.

 

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