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Setback in the Quest for an HIV Cure

Since the disease emerged in the early 1980’s, doctors have sought a cure for HIV and AIDS. Though there are several HIV/AIDS treatments available, there is no foolproof way to eradicate the disease.

Earlier this year, there was some hope for an HIV cure after it seemed that the disease was eliminated from a second HIV-positive baby. However, now HIV has returned to the first baby thought cured of the disease.

Here are the details and how this impacts HIV treatment.

Continue reading “Setback in the Quest for an HIV Cure” »

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How Soon Should I Get an STD Test After Unprotected Sex?

Since having unprotected sex is an STD risk factor, it’s important that you pursue STD testing after you’ve done the deed.

This doesn’t mean you should beeline to the lab the morning after, though. There are many factors that affect the STD testing window including:

  • How the STD test works – is it identifying the STD-causing pathogen or your immune system’s response to it?
  • What STD test you use –  certain tests detect STDs more quickly
  • How healthy your immune system is – whether you’ve been exposed to an STD previously, in particular
  • The incubation period for the STD in question
  • How the disease works – whether the STD is viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic

Here are our guidelines on STD test detection windows.

Continue reading “How Soon Should I Get an STD Test After Unprotected Sex?” »

posted in chlamydia,genital herpes,gonorrhea,Herpes,HIV,HIV testing,STD Prevention,STD testing,STDs,Syphilis and have No Comments

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.

posted in AIDs,chlamydia,genital herpes,gonorrhea,Herpes,HIV,HPV,Relationships and STDs,STD Prevention,STD testing,STDs and have No Comments

World Aids Day is December 1

rapid-hiv-test-for-world-aids-day

Worlds Aids Day is Dec. 1.

This weekend something quite amazing is happening. Countries across the globe are coming together to celebrate World Aids Day. Regardless of current politics and policies, this global health initiative is having countries band together to raise awareness of HIV and Aids. While those of us in the United States plan to recognize this awareness day, what’s awesome is that it’s a movement that’s also happening across the sea, too.

World Aids Day Movements

The first Worlds Aids Day was in 1988 – it was the first global health initiative of its kind. Global leaders recognized the threat, danger and severity of the HIV virus on all continents and came together to start an annual event geared toward raising awareness of HIV, encouraging screening and promoting health. Today, the same mission occurs as many countries are gearing up to promote HIV awareness this weekend.

View the UK’s website for World Aids Day

Read how China celebrated World Aids Day in 2011

View how Ubuntu, Africa is celebrating World Aids Day

Check out the Avert website to learn AIDS statistics from around the world.

Worlds Aids Day in the U.S.

Most of us who grew up in the United States are familiar with the red ribbon campaign. In addition to showing support through the red ribbon, there are many ways to get involved this year. Aids.gov is a great site that offers helpful tools for anyone wanting to get involved in the cause this weekend. Visit the site to see how the White House is getting involved, read the latest policies regarding AIDS, see photo galleries, blog, connect on social media and more. There are even AIDS awareness events taking place on Dec. 1.

Visit AIDS.gov

You and HIV and Aids

We’ve spent the past couple of months highlighting celebs with HIV and Aids. Some of them have unfortunately passed away due to the HIV virus progressing to Aids; others have successfully managed to treat and tame HIV symptoms. The problem with HIV is that many who have it do not realize they are infected. This leads to transmission and even more lives at stake. Those who do have it need immediate treatment, medicine has revolutionized the way the HIV virus is treated.

This weekend, on World Aids Day, make a commitment to get tested for HIV. New rapid HIV tests, like the ones at ARCpoint Labs, can even provide results in 20 minutes. While nobody wants to think about requesting such a test, it could seriously end up saving your life. There’s no better time to make the leap and call. Any of our ARCpoint Labs locations are ready to help you.

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TOMORROW is National HIV Testing Day

Tomorrow isn’t just mid-week or hump day. It’s National HIV Testing Day. And we encourage everyone to pay close attention to why the CDC is encouraging everyone (between ages 16 – 64) to get tested … at least once.

AIDS-ribbon-hiv-testing-day

Tomorrow is National HIV Testing Day

About HIV

According to the U.S. Center for Disease & Prevention on HIV testing :

  • HIV is a virus (human immunodeficiency virus) that becomes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
  • At least 1 million people in the United States are living with the HIV virus
  • HIV destroys crucial blood cells that allow the body to fight diseases
  • AIDS was first recognized in 1981
  • “AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers.” – CDC
  • “HIV medications may limit or slow down the destruction of the immune system, improve the health of people living with HIV, and may reduce their ability to transmit HIV.” – CDC

CDC source

Testing HIV

Out of over 1 million people who have the HIV virus, the CDC estimates that 20% don’t know they have it. That’s why national testing days such as tomorrow are extremely important. Annual testing is recommended for those at high risk for HIV testing:  those with multiple sexual partners; intravenous drug users and gay and bisexual men. Even for those not falling into those categories, the CDC recommends HIV testing … at least once.

Local walk-in labs such as ARCpoint Labs offer easy, rapid HIV testing. Initial tests use oral fluid collected via a simple cheek swab. Results are returned within 20 minutes.

Need an HIV test?

Find your nearest ARCpoint Labs.

 

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