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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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Four Reasons You Need to Get Tested for HIV Today

Affordable HIV testing services | ARCpoint Labs

All too often, people only think about the fun part of having sex, not the repercussions. Engaging in sexual relationships comes with many responsibilities that people often fail to think about.

One responsibility that comes with sex is keeping yourself and others free from harmful diseases such as HIV. According to some reports, as many as 20 percent of the people who have HIV don’t know it.

Fortunately, people can pursue HIV testing to help combat the spread of this potentially devastating disease. Here are some reasons why HIV testing is so vital for safeguarding your health.

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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.

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STDs and Cancer Risk: How Does Sexual Health Affect Overall Health?

In 2012, President Barack Obama declared April as Cancer Control Month, a time to spotlight and celebrate the many advancements in cancer treatment, including important prevention efforts such as cancer screenings.

Although most people are very aware of cancer and its affects on people, many are not aware of how their actions and other aspects of their health can increase their cancer risk. When it comes to your sexual health and cancer risk, you should be aware that contracting an STD can increase your risk for many types of cancer.

Here’s the low-down on STDs and cancer risk.

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Is an HIV Cure on the Horizon?

Three years ago, just 30 hours after her birth, doctors gave a newborn girl high doses of three antiretroviral drugs designed to treat her HIV infection. Although she has been off the medication for almost two years, the girl’s infection has yet to resurface – a fact that scientists are calling a breakthrough in HIV treatment.

Now, a second child’s success is pointing toward a possible HIV cure, raising hope that this potentially fatal STD won’t continue to be spread during birth.

How did doctors come upon this treatment? Here are all the details about the promising HIV cure.

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HIV and Your Nutrition

When the HIV/AIDs epidemic first began in the 1980s, excessive weight loss or wasting was a serious complication of the disease. Now, medical professionals are finding that the opposite is becoming true. In many HIV cases, patients are more overweight than underweight.

While being overweight can cause health problems for all people, it can be particularly dangerous for those with HIV, as they are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

It’s possible to achieve and maintain a healthy weight when you have HIV. Here are our tips for HIV and your nutrition.

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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.

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STD Rates on the Rise Among Senior Citizens

STDs are often thought of as a problem for younger generations to deal with. After all, isn’t most unsafe sex practiced by young adults? Surely, older generations are more aware of the dangers of STDs and how to protect themselves from the spread of infectious sexual diseases.

It seems these assumptions aren’t true. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STD rates among senior citizens are on the rise. In fact, their STD rates have increased enough to tie young adults aged 20 – 24 for the largest increase in STDs over 4 years. As senior citizens are living longer, healthier lives, their sexual activity has increased, leading to a rise in STD rates.

Are you a sexually active senior citizen? In addition to hepatitis C, there are a number of STDs your generation is spreading. Educate yourself on STD rates among your age group and learn how you can stop the spread.

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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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