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New STD Screening Recommendations for Women

Women, you may be familiar with the commonly-accepted STD screening recommendations. Well, get ready to learn some new guidelines — if the changes proposed by a recent federal task force are approved, soon women may be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea more than in the past.

Although no decisions have been finalized, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force seems poised to move their new recommendations forward to America’s physicians. Read more about the Force’s recent draft of STD screening recommendations below.

Continue reading “New STD Screening Recommendations for Women” »

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CDC Reports 2012 STD Rates on the Rise

Each year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) releases its report revealing past STD rates, patterns, and observations. This January 2014, the full 2012 STD report came out, revealing that STD rates are on the rise nationally.

By viewing and understanding these STD rates, health care providers can predict trends for the upcoming year, helping them better adjust treatment plans and educational outreach.

How did STD rates change from 2011 to 2012? And what are some steps to prevent the spread of STDs, according to the CDC? Here are the facts.

2012 STD Rates

Because data on other STDs such as herpes, trichomoniasis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) often go unreported, the CDC’s 2012 report focuses on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Despite their higher report rates, many cases of these STDs also go undiagnosed and thus unreported — which means that the CDC’s report reveals only a hint of the reality of STDs in America.

STD Rates on the Rise

Compared to 2011, the 2012 STD rates all increased except for congenital syphilis:

  • ARCpoint Labs | CDC Reports 2012 STD Rates on the RiseChlamydia: 1,422,976 cases reported in 2012 compared to 1,412,791 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased by 0.7%
  • Gonorrhea: 334,826 cases reported in 2012 compared to 321,849 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased by 4.1% in the third consecutive year of rising rates
  • Syphilis (primary & secondary): 15,667 cases reported in 2012 compared to 13,970 in 2011 with the STD rates per 100,000 people increased 11.1%
  • Syphilis (congenital): 322 cases reported in 2012 compared to 360 in 2011, with the STD rates per 100,000 people decreased by 10%

Groups With the Highest STD rates

STDs can infect anyone, but according to the 2012 data, the following STD rates are highest among certain groups.

Syphilis

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have higher STD rates when it comes to syphilis, making up 75% of all people with the most infectious forms of syphilis (primary and secondary). When the disease in primary or secondary form goes untreated, it can lead to stroke and visual impairment, plus place the infected person at more risk for contracting HIV.

The CDC notes that risk behaviors such as unprotected sex do contribute to these higher levels of syphilis, but also that social factors like lower economic status and the prevalence of homophobia may prevent gay, bisexual, and MSM from seeking treatment for the disease. To stop these rising STD rates, we should focus on eliminating the social stigma linked with syphilis, and also encourage all sexually active gay, bisexual, and MSM to be screened for syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV at least yearly.

Gonorrhea & Chlamydia

Like in previous years, the 2012 CDC data on STD rates reveals that gonorrhea and chlamydia are most prevalent among Americans ages 15 – 24. Though both young adult men and women are affected by these soaring STD rates, the long-term repercussions are felt more heavily among women who run the risk of infertility due to undiagnosed STDs.

To combat these climbing STD rates, the CDC suggests yearly chlamydia screenings for sexually active women age 25 and under, plus gonorrhea screenings for at-risk women who are sexually active — for example, women with multiple sexual partners, or women who live in areas with high STD rates.

Fight Rising STD Rates With ARCpoint Labs

Worried you may be at risk for STD infection? Combat the inflating STD rates by getting confidential, reliable walk-in STD testing from your local ARCpoint Labs. We offer individual STD testing as well as comprehensive STD panels to detect a variety of diseases.

To lower your risk of STD rates, find the nearest ARCpoint Labs that offers STD testing!

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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: Gonorrhea

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 gonorrhea.  According to the CDC, more than 700,000 new cases are reported every year, and the highest rate of contraction is among sexually active teenagers and young adults.

What causes gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea, sometimes known as “the clap,” is caused by a type of bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae that grows in warm, moist areas of the body, including the urethra, a woman’s reproductive tract, and even in the eyes.

How can I get it?

Gonorrhea is spread through all types of sex via contact with the mouth, vagina, penis or anus. Gonorrhea can also be passed from mother to infant during childbirth.

How will I know if I have it?

Symptoms usually appear two to five days after infection, but some people don’t have symptoms at all, and it’s not atypical for it to take a month for symptoms to show in men.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Increased urination
  • Sore throat (gonococcal pharyngitis)
  • Pain during sex
  • Severe pain in lower abdomen
  • Fever

 

Symptoms in men include:

  • Burning or pain while urinating
  • Increased urination
  • Discharge from the penis (usually white, yellow or green)
  • Red or swollen opening of the penis
  • Tender or swollen testicles (epididymitis)
  • Sore throat (gonococcal pharyngitis)

What are the complications?

Because some people do not present symptoms, they may be completely unaware they’ve contracted gonorrhea and pass it to others without knowing.  Additionally, symptoms in women can be very mild and easily mistaken for another type of infection.  If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, a person can develop fever, rash and arthritis-like symptoms.

In women, untreated infections can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes, fertility problems, and ectopic pregnancy.

In men, untreated infections can lead to scarring and abscess of the urethra as well as fertility issues.

Both sexes can suffer infections of heart valves and joints, as well as meningitis.

Is it treatable?

Gonorrhea is easily treated by antibiotics if it has not spread to the blood stream or other areas.  Gonorrhea that has spread is more difficult to treat, but the success rate is still very high.

It’s also important to note that health care professionals are required to notify their State Board of Health about anyone diagnosed with gonorrhea to ensure the patient is treated and cured, and that any past sexual partners are found and notified.  The reason for this is that some strains of gonorrhea have developed antibiotic resistance to many previously used medications.

If you have contracted gonorrhea, you should also receive the hepatitis B vaccine, as well as the HPV vaccine if you are under the age of 26.

How can I prevent it?

The only way to absolutely prevent contracting gonorrhea is total abstinence from all kinds of sex. Limiting sexual relations to a monogamous relationship in which both partners have been tested and are free of STDs greatly reduces the risk of contracting gonorrhea.  Using latex condoms during intercourse and latex condoms or dental dams during oral sex also reduces the risk of transmission.

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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