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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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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

ARCpoint 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 ARCpoint Labs Today!

At ARCpoint 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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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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New Year’s Party Hopping…Keep it Safe

New Year’s Eve parties call for glitter, champagne toasts, sparkly dresses and midnight kisses. Continue reading “New Year’s Party Hopping…Keep it Safe” »

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STD Detectives Take Charge to put end to Gonorrhea Outbreak

Gonorrhea is spreading in the northwest United States. Officials are going to great lengths to put an end to the outbreak, calling on STD detectives to scour for the cause and find more individuals with the infection.

Officials in Oregon, California and Washington are noticing a significant increase in the number of gonorrhea cases reported by hospitals and clinics. The cause has not been determined, but a number of factors are being explored.

What is an STD Detective?detective STD

You might be asking what exactly would be on the job description for an STD detective. An STD detective is not exactly a common role, but it is a real position.

The concept of an STD detective is not new. STD detectives, similar to disease intervention specialists, work to notify people that they may have STDs. In addition to educating the public about sexual health, they encourage people to get tested before disease spreads further.

What’s Causing the Gonorrhea Outbreak?

It’s unlikely that we’ll pinpoint one one cause of the growing number of cases of gonorrhea. Instead, state health officials use existing information to speculate and determine why an outbreak has begun.

Some believe that gonorrhea is being treated improperly or that new strains of the disease are resisting treatment. Others believe that the root cause is a behavior problem, saying that people have gotten complacent about condom usage and protection.

What to do About Gonorrhea

The gonorrhea outbreak in the Northwest is real. STD detectives are scouting out the sources, encouraging people to get tested and offering treatment. In other places across the country, where the numbers of cases aren’t skyrocketing, gonorrhea is still a common STD.

Learning the symptoms and complications is the first step toward preventing the spread of the disease. Since many men may not have symptoms, getting tested for gonorrhea is important.

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Grading Sexual Health at College: Top Ten Released

report card grades

The results are in.

Which U.S. college ranks number one in sexual health?

The 2013 Trojan Sexual Health Report Card revealed the schools that are doing the best with providing sexual health resources — and the schools that have room for improvement.

Princeton University takes the number one spot this year from the University of Illinois, who moved to number 6 this year.

How the Grades Were Calculated

The researchers gathered data from 140 university student health centers and investigated their services. Each school received a rating in 11 categories.

So, if we’re determining the best way for colleges to provide sexual health resources, what should we look at? Here are the 11 categories used in the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card:

  • Hours of operation
  • Allow drop-ins or require appointments for student scheduling
  • Quality of sexual health information and resources on website
  • Contraceptive availability — free or at cost
  • Condom availability — free or at cost
  • HIV testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
  • STI testing on-site (On/off campus, cost)
  • Lecture/outreach programs and student peer groups for sexual health education
  • Sexual assault programs, resources or services
  • Overall website usability and quality
  • Extra credit

Sexual Health: At the Top and the Bottom

How did the group of national universities do in this slightly unusual competition?

Some colleges that win big on the field are at the top, while others got lower grades. The full sexual health grade report list can be found in the research, but we’ll give you the highlights.

Sexual Health Report Card: Top Five Colleges

1. Princeton University

2. Columbia University

3. University of Arizona

4. University of Iowa

5. Brown University

Sexual Health Report Card: Bottom Five Colleges

136. University of New Orleans

137. Troy State University

138. Providence College

139. Chicago State University

140. Brigham Young University

Why the Sexual Health Report Card Matters

This research is more than simply giving universities another title to boast about along with their national accreditation and honors.

We find this research so important because it points out the importance of sexual health, especially for college-aged adults.

This study looked at three main areas: sexual health education, sexual health testing and prevention education. We agree that those are important focus areas. You can find more resources about specific STDs on our blog, and as always, contact us if you need STD testing.

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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.

person listening to what you need to know

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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Spreadsheets: an app for your sexual history

A new app lets users record all the details of their time between the sheets. The app, Spreadsheets, lets users track data of their sexual performance.

This new app may sound intrusive, but the introduction of the spreadsheet sparks an interesting conversation. How should we monitor our sexual habits? How well do we keep track of our sexual partners, frequency and habits? Are we monitoring our sexual health in the same way? Does tracking sexual history help us monitor our sexual health?

All of these questions are important. I’m intrigued by the questions regarding how well we actually track our sexual history. Maybe it isn’t a bad idea to track our sexual experiences in an effort to be aware of our sexual health.

bed sheets

Let’s face it; having multiple sexual encounters is a risky affair. There are several ways to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and other complications. Being aware of your sexual partners and their sexual health is one step toward protecting your health. Monitoring your encounters allows you to reduce the risk of disease or infection. So, it makes sense that you should track your experiences.

Monitor your sexual history for your health

Understand STD exposure

Tracking your sexual experiences can ring alarm bells for when you need to check your STD status. If you’re able to look back at your partners and frequency, you may be reminded that checking yourself for STDs is a wise decision. Tracking with an app (or notebook or whatever you choose) gives an accurate reflection of your exposure to different types of STDs. It can help you make rational decisions regarding your health.

Know who you’re involved with

Being aware of the persons you engage in sexual contacts with is ultimately your prerogative and should be given high priority. This helps in understanding your partner’s traits and thus gain a better understanding of the possibilities of you being infected with sexually transmitted diseases. Staying healthy is a combination of both being free of infections and knowing your status.

What’s the right method to track your sexual history?

Now, is an app the right way to track your encounters between the sheets? The answer to that question depends on several factors. You may find that the app makes sense for you, or you may find other ways to monitor your encounters. No matter what you choose, the important thing to remember is that being aware of your tendencies can help you track your health.

If you’re looking for confidential STD testing, ARCpoint Labs can help.

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STDs in Hiding: Genital Herpes

Many people today are unaware they have genital herpes because they are not familiar with the symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of genital herpes are basically the same for both women and men, and we will go into a more in depth discussion of these symptoms in this article.

team hiding faces hidden std concept

Common symptoms of genital herpes:

  • oblong sores around genital area
  • burning or itching sensation in the infected area
  • fever or flu-like symptoms
  • achy muscles

If you experience the above symptoms together, you should get tested and seek medical attention.

There currently is no cure for the genital herpes virus, however early detection and treatment can result in a better controlled and less painful experience. Different types of medication can alleviate the discomfort and swelling that accompanies this virus. The first outbreak is often the most painful, and as years pass the outbreaks  tend to get more bearable with the proper medication.

Living with genital herpes

Each person is affected by genital herpes is different ways. Some people experience outbreaks every single month, while others get it once a year or go years without any effects of the virus. Medications can help keep the outbreaks and pain to a minimum.

Anyone affected by genital herpes should always wear a condom during intercourse. Condoms can prevent the spreading of the virus but do not absolutely eliminate the chance of spreading the disease. The condom has tiny microscopic pores that can allow the virus to seep through and to an uninfected partner. Although it can help prevent the spread, do not rely on condoms to keep a partner from contracting herpes.

Testing for genital herpes

Testing is an important step if you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease. Without testing, you’ll be guessing at your condition. Before beginning treatment, you must know if you have genital herpes. For confidential and convenient genital herpes testing, visit the ARCpoint Labs facility near you.

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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.

Chlamydia

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.

Gonorrhea

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.

Prevention

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.

Abstinence

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. ARCpoint 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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