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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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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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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 | ARCPoint 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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Discussing STDs with your partner

Discussing STDs with a partner is difficult for most couples. This is especially true when one partner has to ask the other partner if there are chances that he or she could be infected.

However, discussing STDs doesn’t have to be as complicated as most people assume.

Why do you need to talk about STDs with your partner?

Since many STDs have no noticeable symptoms, you and your partner may be unaware of any infections. That’s why the discussion is so important — when you feel comfortable talking about STDs, both of you can get tested and communicate freely about your health. Starting the conversation is the first step toward each partner being tested for STDs. This prepares you for a healthy relationship.

How do you navigate the STD conversation?couple discussing on couch

The partner starting the discussion about STDs should carefully approach the conversation. This is a sensitive topic for many couples, so it deserves your thought and preparation.When you’re ready to discuss STDs with a partner, think about the questions you will ask and the best time for the discussion.

Talk about STDs: Advice you need

  1. Use language that fits your personality. Don’t try to use complicated or professional language. Being comfortable discussing STDS will show your partner you are expressing yourself with confidence and assurance.

  2. Be yourself during the discussion. Use the conversation to show your partner that you care about the relationship. Stress how you care about your partner’s STDs status and proceed to assure him or her that the discussion is vital for your relationship.

  3. Inquire about the health of your partner. Ask if he or she has ever been tested for STDs before.

  4. Pick a time and place that makes sense for the conversation. Make sure you can talk about your sexual health freely and that you have enough time to do so.

Are you ready to talk about STDs with your partner?

Start the discussion with a testing location in mind. ARCpoint Labs offers confidential and affordable STD testing at locations across the country.

Come to the table prepared. Talk to your doctor about concerns and educate yourself on the different STDs and symptoms. You can find information about STDs on our blog. Here are some helpful articles to read and share as you talk about STDs together:

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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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Sexual Health Myths

Your doctor is the best source of information about your sexual health. So, why do you trust rumors, social media or the new friend you made at that party last Friday?

Everything you hear about sexual health is not true.

Some myths about sexual health refuse to die down. To combat those pesky rumors and ongoing myths, we’ve put together a list of three common myths and the facts that debunk them.

woman telling lies myths

Sexual Health Myths Debunked

Sexual Health Myth #1 – Women need a pap smear when they turn 18

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised the recommendation for Pap tests. The test is recommended for women who have been sexually active for about three years, or when they turn 21.

An early Pap test probably won’t be particularly harmful. However, the anticipation of the test may make young women uncomfortable and less likely to ask questions. The recommendation for tests to begin at age 21 is safe.

Continue reading “Sexual Health Myths” »

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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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STDs in Hiding: Chlamydia

Some STDs are more common than you think. Some STDs have few noticeable symptoms, leaving individuals unaware of any infection. Chlamydia is one such STD that rests “in hiding.”

Continue reading “STDs in Hiding: Chlamydia” »

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STD Prevention: The Basic Facts

If you’ve looked at our blog at all, you know what STD stands for. You probably also know that sexually transmitted diseases denote those health conditions dealing with one’s genital and reproductive organs and biological systems. They can make a partner vulnerable for possible infection.

You knew all that. But, did you know that in the USA, nearly 19 million people get infected with sexually transmitted diseases every year? These diseases spread quickly. It is important to take preventive measures.

STD Prevention Basic Facts for Preventing STDs

To prevent STDs you do not need to give up having sex forever. You do, however, need to be aware of your sexual health and take precautions.

Have a look at the basic preventive measures below:

Vaccinations

Make sure to get Hepatitis B and HPV vaccinations as they are highly effective methods of prevention.

Single Partner Commitment

Learning to stay committed to a single partner will reduce your risk of STDs. Having sexual contact with multiple partners makes your more vulnerable to STDs. So, being sexually active with one partner will reduce your risk of infection. Mutual monogamy is important since an uninfected partner can ensure zero infection of sexually transmitted diseases. Staying honest with your partner is helpful in preventing STD.

Protection

Using contraceptives and other forms of birth control are often helpful in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Use condoms every time you have sex to reduce STD transmission.

If you notice symptoms

If you notice symptoms, it is time to consult with your doctor. If you or your partner develops any symptom of an STD or are concerned with potential symptoms, it is best to refrain from having sex until you consult a doctor.

Symptoms And The Importance Of Prevention:

STDs not only cause health symptoms, but they also can be life threatening. Take preventive measures seriously. When you notice any of the following symptoms, it is time to get tested and consult with a doctor. Remember that some STDs don’t have noticeable symptoms. You should be tested regularly.

  • irregular discharge
  • sores in genital area
  • burning or itching sensation
  • bleeding or redness in genital area

 

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