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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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“The Clam” Refers to Chlamydia

So far in our journey through STD slang we’ve talked about “The Clap” and “Crabs.” Today we’ll uncover another STD slang term commonly used, “The Clam.” Yep, we’re talking about chlamydia again.

the-clam-chlamydia-std-testing

Heard of "The Clam?" Realize it can refer to chlamydia?

What is Chlamydia?

If you need another refresher on this STD, take notes. In addition to “The Clam,” it’s also been called the “Silent” STD. That’s because many times those with chlamydia have no idea they’ve been infected. Symptoms go rogue and leave no indication that anything is wrong … that is until a guy or gal tries to start a family and faces infertility or sterility because of untreated STDs.

Here’s a quick refresher on chlamydia:

  • Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs.
  • Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • It can infect the urethra, rectum and eyes in men and women, as well as the cervix in women.
  • Chlamydia is spread via vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • It can be spread from eye to eye simply by touch, sharing towels or makeup, and by coughing or sneezing.
  • Chlamydia can also be passed to an infant during childbirth.
  • Some symptoms could include:  abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, abdominal pain, pain during sex, fever, pain during urination, or the urge to urinate more frequently.

Treating Chlamydia

If there is a “great” thing about an STD, it’s that the infection is treatable. Luckily, chlamydia CAN be treated by antibiotics. Many times those with chlamydia are also infected with gonorrhea – treatment for both STDs may be performed at the same time. If you’re sexually active (especially with multiple partners or not using a condom), you’re highly encouraged to be tested for chlamydia at least once/year because of its prevalence and detrimental effects if it goes untreated.

Need to be tested for chlamydia?

Sneak in and out of one of our local labs for your STD test.

Find a quick, affordable and accurate STD testing facility near you.

 

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Crabs Aren’t Cute When it Comes to STDs

It’s time for another lesson on STD slang. Last time we talked about slang words for STDs we uncovered that “The Clap” refers to gonorrhea. Our next STD slang: Crabs.

crabs-public-lice-std-testing

There's nothing cute about crabs AKA pubic lice.

What are “Crabs?”

Crabs – and we’re not talking about those little red things that crawl in the sand with pinchers – are actually public lice. We previously described public lice and the symptoms. Here’s a quick review:

  • Public lice work like ticks – they attach themselves to skin and feed on blood.
  • Crabs can be passed by having contact with any person OR MATERIAL (sharing clothes, towels & bedding)
  • Crabs can only survive through the warmth of a human host (so you can’t get them from a pool.)
  • They are visible – they start out gray and turn red, they may drop eggs near public hair follicles and bite.
  • They ITCH (especially at night.)
  • They are easily treated with cremes (both prescription and non-prescription.)
  • Chances are, if you’ve had crabs – you might have another STD (or two.)

Why are Public Lice called Crabs?

This nickname for a common STD is much easier to understand than “the clap.” Pubic lice, when viewed microscopically, look like little crabs. Plus, they feed off the host and turn red as they fill with blood.

How to Avoid Crabs?

Obviously, the best way to avoid crabs is to avoid any sexual contact with someone else who has crabs. Condom use won’t prevent you from getting crabs from another infected person since the condom does not cover the pubic hair follicles from touching. Make sure to take caution when sharing clothing, towels or bedding with another individual – especially if they have crabs. Washing in hot water can help rid any lingering lice that may be hiding out in the fibers.

If you do come down with crabs, see a physician to help recommend remedy. Pubic lice may be treated similarly to any other case of lice – it’s important to comb out any obvious parasites and eggs, faithfully apply cremes, and avoid contact with other individuals until the lice are gone.

Don’t Forget:  If you have Crabs it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED you get STD tested.

Find a STD testing site near you.

 

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