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Not Enough Adolescents Are Getting Their HPV Vaccine – and Why This Needs to Change.


There’s mixed news coming from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Survey-Teen.

While the 2014 report indicates that the number of 13- to 17-year old girls and boys getting their HPV vaccine has increased a bit for the second year running, there are still not enough adolescents getting this potentially life-saving immunization.

Here are the numbers to know and the reason why we need to see a more marked increase in HPV vaccination.

Continue reading “Not Enough Adolescents Are Getting Their HPV Vaccine – and Why This Needs to Change.” »

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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

TEST SMARTLY 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 TEST SMARTLY LABS Today!

At TEST SMARTLY 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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HPV: what to know

Human papillomavirus, better known as HPV , is a sexually transmitted disease that millions of men and women will be afflicted by every year. Genital HPV is the most commonly infected STD in the United States.

There are over 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas. These varieties can also infect the mouth and throat.

How Do You Get HPV?

The HPV virus is extremely common. HPV may be passed through genital contact, but it may also be passed during oral sex.

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What Are The Signs Of HPV?

Most people that are infected with HPV do not have noticeable symptoms. Most people’s bodies clear HPV within two years of infection. Even with those odds, however, there is a chance that the infection causes more health problems. HPV may cause genital warts. Other types of HPV can lead to cancers.

HPV Prevention and Screening

There are a few effective vaccines for preventing HPV. Condoms also reduce the risk of infection. The HPV test checks for the virus that is related to cervical cancer.

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Ways to Prevent STDs

According to a study in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases, more than 110 million people in the United States alone have sexually transmitted diseases, and 20 million more people get new infections every year. Not only are the physical and personal effects of these STDs astronomical–the lifetime cost of treating 20 million additional STDs per year is $16 billion! There are easy ways to prevent STDs, which makes these facts even harder to swallow.

Imagine the medical and monetary benefits if we focused on ways to prevent STDs. With the right education, people can understand how to change their sexual behaviors and prevent STDs. Read to learn more about how to protect yourself and your sexual partner(s) and prevent STDs.

Prevent STDs by…

Always wearing a condom or dental dam.

Ways to Prevent STDs | TEST SMARTLY LABSCondoms act as barriers to stop blood, semen, or vaginal fluids from passing between people during sex and thus prevent STDs. If your partner is infected with HIV, bodily fluids like these contain the virus, and if you are having unprotected sex, the HIV can spread to you.

Although even a condom does not prevent STDs 100%, risks are greatly reduced if you use the condom properly. Use the FDA’s condom shopping guide to pick the right protection for you, then be sure to store your condoms correctly, use a new condom every time you have sex, and follow the instructions for proper condom use. Get educated on condom use and prevent STDs!

You can also prevent STDs by properly wearing a dental dam when having oral sex with your partner. They work similarly, preventing the spread of fluids from genitals to oral cavities.

Getting yourself & your partner(s) tested.

Before you commit to having sex with someone–no matter how long you’ve known them or how much you trust them–it’s a good idea to go and get tested together and prevent STDs. You or your partner could unknowingly have an STD from a past sexual encounter. For this method to work effectively you must be willing to have an open discussion about your sexual histories. If you are both committed to staying open and healthy, it will be easier to prevent STDs. Check out the ARCPoint lab near you to get a private, low-cost STD test for you and your partner.

Getting treated or vaccinated.

Vaccination is another way to prevent STDs from spreading, though not all sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented using this method. Hepatitis B and HPV are some of the STDs that can be prevented by the use of vaccine. Most infants are vaccinated for Hepatitis B at birth, while HPV vaccination is recommended for males and females ages 11 to 26. Getting vaccinated will help prevent STDs.

If you or your partner exhibits any signs of sexually transmitted diseases such as sores in around the genitals or pain while passing urine, be sure seek medical attentions and adhere to the treatment prescribed by a doctor. Getting treated will lessen your chances of re-infection, stop the spread, and prevent STDs.

Prevent STDs today

Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent STDs–but if you follow the above tips for safe sexual interactions, you will still be able to enjoy intercourse with your partner and prevent STDs.

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Top College STDs

Moving away to college is an exciting experience for many people with new freedoms and meeting different people. Going to clubs and parties can be a new and fun experience when acting responsibly. However, alcohol and other factors can hinder judgment. Sexually transmitted diseases are unfortunately a common problem among college campuses. Understand what the most common STDs are for college students and how to prevent them. Condoms

Most Common College STDs

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact and can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer. Many people are unaware they are infected since symptoms often go unnoticed. Although it is not curable, preventative measures can be taken. Girls are recommended to get a vaccine at age 11 or 12, but please note that it does not protect against all strains of HPV.


This bacterial STD is transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal sex. Chlamydia is treatable and curable with antibiotics, but immediate attention is required to prevent damage to both men and women’s reproductive organs.


Like Chlamydia, there are often no visible symptoms of gonorrhea, so it is important to get tested regularly. Fortunately it is treatable and curable with antibiotics, but the disease must be caught early to prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes, or HSV-2, is spread in the same ways as chlamydia, but it is not curable. This disease can cause blisters, redness and sores.


Condom Use

Condoms are 97% effective at preventing STDs, but they must be used properly. If you are sexually active, use them consistently and correctly to reduce your risk of transmitting or receiving an infection or disease. Remember, birth control pills do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.


The only way to be 100% sure you will not get an STD is to be abstinent. Sexually transmitted infections and diseases may be passed through oral sex, anal sex or intercourse. If this is not a probable option, take preventative measures and understand the risks with being sexually active.

If you are sexually active and/or have multiple partners, be sure to get tested regularly for STDs. The sooner you are aware of a problem, the more quickly you’ll be able to treat it. TEST SMARTLY LABS offers STD testing for both men and women. You don’t even need insurance or an appointment, so contact us today to take control of your sexual health.


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Know your STDs and How to Prevent Them: HPV

It seems like there are several commercials running for the prevention of human papillomavirus (HPV) and that’s probably because it’s the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). According to the CDC, about 20 million Americans have HPV right now, and another 6 million will be effected this year. While there are several types of this viruses that float around, the important thing to know is that just like many other STDS, if you have HPV, you may never know. However this lack of awareness can prove to be very detrimental, and especially in the cases involving HPV.

Do You Have HPV?

If you have HPV, you probably don’t even realize it. The CDC says that in 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears it up naturally. But get this – it clears it up within TWO YEARS. Yep, for two years you could be fighting off a sexually transmitted infection.

But here’s the thing about HPV:  if the body doesn’t clear it up naturally, life-threatening consequences can come later. Like what? Well…. let’s just say here are what some have experienced:

  • Genital and oral warts
  • Cervical cancer
  • Other cancers near the lower genital region in both men & women

Seriously, an STD can give me CANCER?!?

Yep, an STD can give you cancer. Now there are several strains of HPV, and not all of them are the cancer-causing agents. Some of them just cause the warts. However, you can’t really know which type of strain you have and that’s why it’s extremely important for you to get checked:

  • STD testing – if you’re sexually active (especially with multiple partners), you need tested for STDs each year.
  • Routine cervical exams (for women) – this will test you for cervical cancer. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus.
  • Routine physicals (for men) – the doctor will examine if you have any signs of STD complications from warts to cancer

The HPV virus mutates cells. Just like any other cancer, you cannot physically feel this taking place, and it’s a slow process. However, when HPV goes undetected and isn’t fought off naturally, that’s when this devastation can occur. It might be years later, but if you’ve picked up the HPV virus and your body didn’t fight it off naturally, you will be at risk for cancers.

How do I Prevent & Treat HPV?

HPV is actually a very unique STD in that it has a vaccine for prevention. While abstaining from sexual relations will be the best way prevent it, some of these tools will also help:

  • Vaccines – there’s a vaccine for women & girls (ideally given around ages 11-12) that can prevent cervical cancer, other reproductive-area cancers and warts. There’s also a vaccine for men & boys that can prevent the warts and anal cancers caused from HPV.
  • Condoms – The use of condoms is said to help stop the spread of HPV – as long as they are used during the entire sexual encounter.
  • Medicines – If you’re suffering from the genital warts, there are some medications a doctor can prescribe to help clear them up.

Learn More about HPV

This is just scratching the surface when it comes to HPV and your risks. Learn more at some of these trusted sites:

Center for Disease Control: Genital HPV Infection

PubMed Health: Genital Warts

National Cancer Institute: HPV and Cancer



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