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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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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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Rest In Peace, Spencer Cox

This week, the battle against HIV and AIDS took a major hit when activist Patrick “Spencer” Cox, passed away. Cox, 44, died of an AIDS-related illness in Manhattan.  He discovered he was HIV positive when he moved to New York in his 20s, causing him to shift his focus as an aspiring playwright and actor to fighting the deadly disease.

A voice for others

For nearly 25 years, Cox was a voice for those who suffered from the disease. At age 20 he joined the AIDS Coalition to Unlease Power, or ACT Up, an organization the works to get government and private institutions to do more for AIDS research, treatment, and prevention. He was part of the group that started Treatment Action Group, or TAG, that helps advancements in treatment.

The research Cox did, and his constant fight to create a better world for AIDS victims, drew the attention of his peers.

“He wanted the facts and was always very meticulous about getting good data rather than just screaming for getting something approved. It’s a great loss. He was part of a historic group of people,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (source).

“He saved the lives of millions, but he couldn’t save his own,” said Mr. Mark Harrington, the executive director of TAG.

Why Cox is an inspiration

Rather than sit and suffer in his own affliction, Cox dedicated his life to making things better for those with HIV or AIDS. And all the way to the end, Cox didn’t know what the future held, but he knew he had to live his life to the fullest.

“You keep going. You keep evolving. You keep progressing. You keep hoping until you die, which is going to happen some day. You make your life as meaningful as you can make it.” – Spencer Cox (source) 

Our hope is to one day see a world without AIDS. But until we get there, we’re on a mission to offer rapid HIV testing to prevent this virus from progressing into the deadly disease.

 

 

 

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Bush’s Fight Against AIDs Impresses Celebs

British rocker Elton John was no fan of George W. Bush during his presidency.  He opposed the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and called the former president “the worst thing that ever happened to America”.  Recently John, a gay man and AIDs activist, has voiced praise for Bush, explaining that his contributions in the fight against AIDs have been tremendous.  John explained:

“I found him well informed and I found him determined to do something about the AIDS situation so I changed my opinion of him…I learned a lesson.” (source)

He also spoke to Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Prevention, or PEPFAR, which has raised $15 billion to help with AIDs treatment and prevention.

Elton-John-in-Norway

Other Celebs support Bush’s Efforts

Former “Will and Grace” actress Debra Messing was also critical of Bush during his presidency, but explained why PEPFAR was so important:

“President Bush created PEPFAR.  That’s one of the most important contributions to this fight made by anybody, by any living president. So I think that regardless of his other policies, or how you feel about how he was as a president, anybody who is an advocate and trying to support global health has so much to thank the former President Bush for.”

About PEPFAR

PEPFAR, founded in 2003, describes itself as “the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. This historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally, and PEPFAR investments also help alleviate suffering from other diseases across the global health spectrum. PEPFAR is driven by a shared responsibility among donor and partner nations and others to make smart investments to save lives.”  You can find out more information about PEPFAR, its programs, and its goals on its official page.

AIDs affects 33 million people.  In the United States, 1.1 million people are HIV positive, and over 56,000 are infected with the AIDs virus.  Throughout the years it has killed over 25 million people, including over 530,000 Americans (source).  Healthcare professionals and researchers are continuously working hard to treat and prevent AIDs, but it’s up to us as individuals to have the facts on how to prevent it.  One of the first steps is routine testing for HIV.

 

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