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STDs & Summer Vacation: Prevention & Sexual Health

Sometimes, the warm summer weather causes people to lose their inhibitions and engage in risky sexual behavior.

Rather than become a statistic and catch one of many STDs, it’s advisable to use caution and protection while vacationing this year. With school and work obligations put on hold, there is no reason not to be social.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious when it comes to STDs and sexual partners. If you meet someone that you want to have intercourse with, you need to do the following to protect yourself as well as the other person from STDs.

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The Lowdown on Hepatitis (for Hepatitis Awareness Month)

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and that means it’s the perfect time to learn more about this disease, its transmission and the ways to prevent it.

With this information, more people can protect themselves against this potentially dangerous STD.

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Educating Others During STI Awareness Month

April is National STI Awareness Month. Part of prevention is educating the public of the risks of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

It’s especially important to target young men and women ages 15-24 years of age as well as gay and bisexual men who have sex with other men because they are at the greatest risk.

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STDs You Can Get from Kissing

 Most people know that sexually transmitted diseases are passed on — well — sexually; but what many individuals fail to confront is that kissing is included as one of the sexual activities that can result in an infection.
We’re sharing some of the STDs that can be transmitted via one liplock.

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Condoms & STDs: Myths & Best Practices

Condoms are the best defense from STDs when used correctly. However, there is some misinformation floating around and we wanted to debunk those myths and offer accurate information regarding proper condom use.

Myth #1: You can avoid STDs by having anal or oral sex.

Sex of any type — vaginal, oral or anal — can transfer STDs between partners. The viruses or bacteria pass through tiny cuts in the mouth, anus or genitals.

Best Practices: Use a new condom for every sexual act. For instance, if you or your partner move from oral to vaginal sex, use a new condom. It doesn’t have to be a cumbersome act, either. You can make it part of the foreplay. You and your partner can rest assured that you have each other’s best interests in mind.

Myth #2: All condoms are uncomfortable and desensitizing.

While it’s true that sex without condoms feels different than sex with condoms, there are almost countless options out there for sexually active people. It seems like condom brands are trying new things every day to make the experience pleasurable for both partners.

Best Practices: Try a variety of condoms to see which brand and style works best for you. You may need a different size. Several condom brands make different sizes such as snug fit or large fit to accomodate different men. If you’re allergic to latex, there are options out there.

Myth #3: I don’t need to use a condom the whole time during sex.

Yes you do. STDs can be transferred from one partner to another at any time during sex — including during foreplay.

Best Practices: Put a condom on as soon as the penis is erect, and don’t leave it on too long after you finish. Make sure to roll it all the way down to the base of the penis, and leave a little room at the tip for ejaculate.

Even with using condoms correctly, it’s still possible to transfer or contract STDs — sometimes condoms break. If you’re concerned you may have STDs, ARCpoint Labs offers comprehensive STD testing. To learn more, contact any location today.

 

 

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Preventative Measures Against STDs

 

According to The American Journal of Medicine, more than half of the population will have an STD at some point in time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last fall that rates of STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all had a significant increase in 2014. The report caused some doctors to point to an increasing STD epidemic in the U.S. However, this epidemic is preventable. There are several steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their partners from STD infection.

Safe Sex

According to the CDC, the consistent and correct use of a latex condom is one of the most reliable ways to prevent against STD infection for those who are sexually active. Condoms are most effective against STDs that are spread by genital fluids, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. However, condoms are less effective against STDs that are spread by skin-to-skin contact, like herpes, HPV, and syphilis.

Reducing Sexual Partners

The most effective method of STD prevention is to abstain from sex entirely. However, reducing the number of sexual partners is also an effective way to reduce risk of infection. Staying with one uninfected sexual partner is a reliable way to prevent an STD infection, however it is essential that both you and your partner have first tested negative for STDs and are mutually monogamous.

Vaccination & STD Testing

Certain STDs, like HPV, can be protected against through vaccination. Getting vaccinated before sexual exposure is a reliable measure to take to prevent infection with HPV. STD testing is another way to prevent the spread of STDs. The CDC recommends that those who are sexually active get tested once a year. Ask any new partners to get tested before intercourse. Informing yourself about your and your partner’s health is one of the most effective methods of STD prevention.

If you need discreet and reliable STD testing visit your nearest ARCpoint Labs location today! No doctor’s orders or appointment is required. 

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STD Dictionary: Letters N – Z

This is a continuation of our 2-part blog series. To read the first half, click here!

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STD Dictionary: Letters A Through M

STD Dictionary

The first step in securing your sexual health is having the right knowledge.

In this two-part blog series, we are defining some of the key terms you should know when it comes to STDs, starting with the beginning of the alphabet.

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Does a Pap Smear Test for STDs?

Not a Simple Yes or No Answer

Many women think that their doctors are testing them for STDs as part of their annual physical exams. However, that is not the case. Just because you’re getting a Pap smear and a pelvic exam, it does not mean that you’re getting tested for STDs.A female doctor set in her office

Certain types of Pap smear include HPV testing on the sample taken from your cervix, and sometimes damage or swelling from other STDs could show up on your Pap smear.

Comprehensive STD Screening is the Only Way

The only way to test for STDs common in sexually active adults is for a comprehensive test. Diseases such as chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis or herpes can only be screened for by specific tests that target those diseases.

Sometimes people confuse wet mounts with Pap smears. A wet mount is a slide made from a swab of your vagina. The slide shows vaginal infections and other conditions like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis — the most common STD in young women.

A Pap smear, in contrast, is a swab of your cervix that a doctor in a pathology lab examines to find signs of cervical cancer. Neither wet mounts nor Pap smears alone can identify most common STDs.

Should I get a Pap smear or an STD test?

If you’re concerned about STDs, you should have a comprehensive STD test because a Pap smear cannot scan for them. Pap smears are still very important for detecting cervical cancer early. Regular physical exams including Pap smears or STD testing — especially for women with multiple partners — is paramount to maintaining sound reproductive and sexual health.

ARCpoint Labs STD Testing

Some ARCpoint Labs locations offer comprehensive STD screening. To learn more about what services we offer, contact your nearest location today.

 

 

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These STD Testing Myths Might be Affecting Your Health

Myths About STD Testing

We’ve written about STD myths before, but we haven’t covered those misconceptions that surround STD testing.

Since STD tests are one of the best ways to protect your sexual health, it’s crucial that you pursue them regularly and don’t let these myths dissuade you. The STD testing myths include:Sexual Health Red Blue Green Squares

One Test Can Screen for All STDS.

No. Absolutely not. No solitary STD test can give you an accurate and full picture of  your sexual health. All STD tests are not created equal. It’s not only that some tests are better than others, it’s that some tests are very likely to correctly identify people who carry the disease, and some tests will never misidentify an uninfected person as infected.

VDRL Tests Can Provide Results for HIV

No they don’t. It’s a misconception that VDRLs can test for HIV. VDRLs do not test for all viral STDs, but they can test for syphilis.

An HIV Test Is All You Need

Some people believe that if a doctor tells you that you have chlamydia or gonorrhea, that you’ll be fine after a course of antibiotics. Those people are wrong.  Some doctors and clinics that screen young people test for chlamydia and gonorrhea, but only those two common STDs. While they can be treated, it is assumed that the patients don’t have any other STDs. Additional tests are needed for herpes or syphilis, which can be spread to other partners unknowingly.

How can I be sure I’m not positive?

The only way to know for sure if you don’t have STDs is to get tested for everything you might be concerned about. You’ll have to ask. It’s not fair to expect the uninformed to be in the know about these things, but it is the case.

If you’re concerned you’ve contracted an STD, find the nearest wellness-certified ARCpoint Labs location for STD testing.

 

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