STD Testing awareness

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STD Testing awareness should be every month, however this year the Center for Disease Control has a very specific theme. There will be a concerted effort made by health officials to get everyone talking, tested and treated. With recent statistics still showing that STDs rates are continuing to climb, there has never been a better time to get people talking about their sexual health.

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The CDC has recently released data that shows Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis incidents are on the rise, and that certain groups are at a higher risk than others. Certain demographical factors are also contributing to the problem, along with recent cuts to health care.

While the rates for some sexually transmitted diseases are at the highest levels since 2006, there is also some good news concerning the important fact that all STDs are completely preventable. That is why during std awareness month the CDC will be concentrating on the very specific theme of getting everyone talking, and ensure that people know when they should be tested and how to treat these transmittable diseases.

In recognition of STD awareness month now is a good time for everyone to take a few minutes and learn a few important facts about sexually transmitted diseases.

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Top Little Known Facts about STDs

Before anyone can start talking about STDs they need to know all of the facts, and this also includes correcting a few common misconceptions. The first step in protecting your sexual health starts with having all of the information, and this includes contacting a local clinic as soon as an STD is suspected. Not only is this important for your health, but it can also prevent the STD from being passed on to friends and family.

Important Statistics

  • 42 percent of the people diagnosed with Syphilis also tested positive for HIV. While Syphilis can be treated, there is currently not a cure for HIV/AIDS.
  • Each year there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed.
  • STDs are costing healthcare $16 billion annually.
  • There are 110 million STDs reported in women and men.
  • 42 percent of the people diagnosed with Syphilis also tested positive for HIV. While Syphilis can be treated, there is currently not a cure for HIV/AIDS.
  • Each year there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed.
  • STDs are costing healthcare $16 billion annually.
  • There are 110 million STDs reported in women and men.

Other alarming and frightening statistics

that have contributed to the necessity of having a month set aside to bring awareness about the dangers of STDs to the public includes,

  • There are 1.5 million cases of Chlamydia reported each year with a total number of incidents at 1,570,000.
  • Gonorrhea is lower at 350,000 reported each year, which brings the total number of cases to 800,000.
  • HPV which can affect men and women has 14,100,000 million cases annually, with a total number at 79,000,000.
  • Trichomoniasis infects 1,090,000 people annually, with a total number of cases reported at 3,710,000.
  • Annually there are 776,000 cases of Herpes, with a total of 24,100,000, making it the second most common STD behind the HPV virus.
  • There are 40,000 cases of HIV reported annually, for a total number of 900,000.

If these numbers are not enough to get people talking about the dangers of STDs, the CDC is worried that this could become an even bigger problem.

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Sexually transmitted diseases present a serious health threat for everyone

With 50 percent of the total number of STDs being reported in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 there are some groups that are at a higher risk. It is also important to note that four out of every 10 teens that are sexually active fail to use a condom every time they are with a partner.

One fact that will be surprising to some people is that the United States has the highest STD rate among industrialized countries. For many people this statistic alone will have them reconsidering how well they take care of their sexual health. If a country with such a high standard of living as the United States can have the highest STD rate, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Common Myths Surrounding STDs

Even in this technologically advanced age there are still several myths and misconceptions surrounding STDs and how they are spread. Until everyone understands all of the facts about STDs, the United States will continue to have one of the highest rates of infection among industrialized nations.

  • Myth 1: Birth control can protect you from contracting a STD.

There are several methods that are effective at preventing pregnancies, but none of these are capable of protecting you from any of the STD/STIs. In fact, it is myths like this one that are contributing to the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases in teens. Until the CDC succeeds in its goal to get everyone talking about STDs this myth will continue to be a problem, especially for those in the 15 to 24 age bracket.

  • Myth 2: You cannot contract a STD through oral or anal sex.

This myth is a direct result of the lack of information that is available for anyone that is sexually active and worried about contracting a STD. It is possible to become infected with a STD/STI through oral or anal sex. The viruses are passed through bodily fluids which includes saliva, semen and blood. If there is even the smallest cut or open sore in or around the mouth or anus the chances of contracting a STD are significantly increased. The only effective way to protect yourself from a STD is to always use protection during any sexual activity.

  • Myth 3: If he pulls out during intercourse, before ejaculating you will not contract a STD.

Even if he has the presence of mind during the “heat of the moment” to remember to pull out before ejaculation occurs this will not prevent the spread of any sexually transmitted disease. During intercourse men will have what is referred to as “pre-ejaculation”, which is when a small amount of fluid is released prior to an orgasm. This tiny amount of semen can contain the bacteria that causes STDs which will leave both partners infected with the virus. The only proven and effective method of preventing the spread of STDs is to always use protection.

  • Myth 4: Wearing two condoms is more effective than just using one.

While this myth does seem to make sense, doubling up on condoms will actually increase your risk of contracting any of the STDs. When two condoms are worn together you run the risk of one or both breaking. During intercourse friction is created which results in an orgasm, but this also causes the two condoms to rub together. The same friction that brings pleasure often causes the thin material to rip or tear which increases your risk of contracting any of the STDs, along with an unplanned pregnancy.

  • Myth 5: Only “certain” people are at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

There are several reasons why this myth continues to circulate and be believed, but it is mostly due to a lack of available information. Statistics from the CDC do show that gays, bisexuals and men who engaged in sexual activity with other men have the highest risk of infection, but this does not mean that it can never happen to anyone else.

One of the goals for the CDC is to increase community awareness regarding how sexually transmitted diseases are spread, and to stress the fact that STDs can occur in anyone. While lifestyle choices do play a significant role in increasing someone’s risk factor, it also does not mean that you cannot contract a STD even if you are only sexually active with one partner. This misconception continues to be one of the biggest contributing factors to the growing number of people who test positive each year.

Start STD Awareness Month by Getting Tested

Health care experts have estimated that up to 80 percent of people who have a STD never know that they are infected until it is too late to prevent them from spreading the sexually transmitted disease to others. In honor of STD awareness month it is recommended that everyone take a few minutes and get tested and treated if necessary. Regular STD testing is advised by the CDC and most mainstream health officials regardless if any signs or symptoms are showing. Even with recent budget cuts to health care programs there are still public testing facilities that you can take advantage of, but if you want faster, clearer and more accurate results it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a private lab.

When to Get STD Tested?

If you are ready to get tested but aren’t sure if it is necessary here are some guidelines that will help make it easier for you to take care of your sexual health.

Get tested today

If you have never been screened for a sexually transmitted disease it is recommended that you be tested. This even applies if you are not sexually active or have only had one partner. STDs can be spread through methods other than sex, and since not everyone shows immediate signs or symptoms it is impossible to know for sure if your partner is infected. If you have had more than one partner or engaged in unprotected sex you should be tested today.

Get tested in two weeks

Some people might wonder why wait two weeks to be tested for STD/STIs if you are concerned about a possible new infection or are worried about a recent sexual partner, and there is a very good medical reason for this waiting period. There is an incubation period associated with STDs that typically runs from several days to a week or more, which is why the CDC and health care officials recommend the two week waiting period. If you are tested before the end of the incubation period the test results will be inaccurate, and even though you might think that you are not infected you will still pose a significant health risk to your partner and others.

Retest in six weeks

If you test positive for any of the STDs or are still worried about a previous sexual encounter, it is recommended that you be retested after a six week waiting period. HIV/AIDS does have a longer incubation period, up to four weeks in some cases, which means an STD test after just two weeks might not be 100 percent accurate. Other sexually transmitted diseases can also take longer to display any signs or symptoms, and in some cases the treatment you receive might not always be effective. If you truly want peace of mind and the assurance that you are not contributing to the spread of STDs it is a good idea to follow the recommended guidelines and be retested after six weeks.

It is important to note that these are only recommended guidelines that are designed to help prevent the further spread of STDs, and that you can get tested anytime you feel that you might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. The simple procedure only takes a few minutes and is relatively pain free, and the peace of mind that you get knowing that you are in good sexual health is worth the small prick you feel when your blood is being drawn for testing.

Talk, Test and Treat STDs

With STD rates at its highest since 2006, according to CDC reports, it has never been so important for everyone to be tested for a STD. There are several myths and misconceptions regarding who is at risk and ways to prevent the diseases, but the truth is anyone can contract a STD regardless of how careful they are.

Every year the month of April is set aside to address this growing problem, which is rapidly becoming a health crisis. With the theme this year concentrating on talking about, testing and treating sexually transmittable diseases the CDC and health care officials are hopeful that everyone will start a discussion and realize how important it is for them to take care of their sexual health.

STD Testing Is Now Fast, Efficient, and Non-Judgmental

Since the year 2000, there has been a steady rise in the number of reported STD cases in the United States. If this is an indication of anything then it’s that no matter how many studies are conducted, we might never even get close to knowing exactly how many people live with STDs in the U.S. Human beings evolved a lot over the last few decades but we are not yet at the point where people freely talk about their sexual health and the sexually transmitted infections. This is a shame really because in this age of innovative communication technologies and cutthroat medical advances, talking about the STIs is not something you should shy away from.

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STD facts by the National Disease and Therapeutic Index

  • In a ranking of the different U.S. states by the rate of reported STD cases, Louisiana ranks first for primary and secondary Syphilis, while Mississippi ranks first for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.
  • According to diagnoses reported in 2009, the rate of infection is three times higher in women than in men. It is believed that this difference in statistics is due to the fact that women tend to be more comfortable getting tested for the different STDs.
  • The rate of Chlamydia infection increased from 205.5 per 100,000 population in 1997 to 409.2 in 2009.
  • The rate of Gonorrhea infection among blacks is 20.5 times greater than among whites while American Indian/Alaska Natives show no clear pattern of infection.

Early diagnosis and treatment is essential in sexual health. If you are uncomfortable going to your GP about your suspicions that you might have contracted a sexually transmitted infection, private STD testing is possible in a number of sexual health clinics where the STD tests are conducted quickly and in absolute confidentiality. At this point, it might be worth it to mention that over the last couple of years, sexual health testing has been made increasingly easier in the United States. You can now be tested for the deadly STIs in the comfort of your own home with a simple home testing kit. At Safer STD Testing service providers do not recommend this method of STD testing for the simple reason that the test will be carried out by yourself or an untrained person and the accuracy of home testing kits may vary.

Chlamydia testing and diagnosis

If you suspect you’ve contracted Chlamydia, really there is only one way for you to find out for sure and that’s to get tested. Testing for Chlamydia is simple. All you need to do is provide a urine sample. Some facilities can encourage you to have a swab test instead. The swab test is generally preferred because cells can be collected directly from the site of infection such that if you’ve had anal sex, the sample can be collected from your rectum and if you’ve had oral sex then your throat can be swabbed for infected cells. If you think you might have Chlamydia, don’t delay getting tested. Chlamydia is curable. Left untreated, it can cause a number of pelvic inflammatory diseases and infertility.

Gonorrhoea testing and diagnosis

The only way to find out if you have Gonorrhoea is to get tested. If you do not wish to go to your GP then you can choose to get private testing. Through Safer STD Testing affiliates, it is possible to have a Gonorrhoea test within a few days of having sex. If you feel there is even a remote chance that you’ve been exposed to the infection, early diagnosis and treatment of Gonorrhoea will reduce the risk of any complications developing such as pelvic inflammatory diseases and infection of the testicles. For Gonorrhoea testing, women are often encouraged to go for the swab test in which a nurse collects a sample of cells from your cervix or vagina. Cervical smear tests and blood tests do not check for Gonorrhoea. For men, Gonorrhoea testing is done on a urine sample. In you’ve had oral sex, the nurse may require a swab from your throat. Similarly, if you’ve had anal sex, a swab will be taken from your rectum instead. If you suspect you’ve contracted Chlamydia, really there is only one way for you to find out for sure and that’s to get tested. Testing for Chlamydia is simple. All you need to do is provide a urine sample. Some facilities can encourage you to have a swab test instead. The swab test is generally preferred because cells can be collected directly from the site of infection such that if you’ve had anal sex, the sample can be collected from your rectum and if you’ve had oral sex then your throat can be swabbed for infected cells. If you think you might have Chlamydia, don’t delay getting tested. Chlamydia is curable. Left untreated, it can cause a number of pelvic inflammatory diseases and infertility.

Syphilis testing and diagnosis

If you suspect you have syphilis, call right now at 1-888-380-5571 and visit our local sexual health facility as soon as you can. Syphilis is a curable sexually transmitted infection but if left untreated, it can cause blindness, paralysis and even death. The earlier you get diagnosed for syphilis, the better are your chances of survival. Syphilis testing is easy and quick but a physical examination of your genitals usually precedes the procedure. For men, this involves looking at the penis, foreskin and urethra. For women, it involves an internal examination of the vagina. Syphilis testing is done via a blood test.

Genital herpes testing and diagnosis

Genital herpes can now be diagnosed more easily and more accurately than ever before so if you think that you might have contracted the sexually transmitted infection, visit us at your local sexual health facility as soon as you can or give us a call at 1-888-380-5571. For genital herpes, a swab test is often encouraged rather than physical examination by your GP. If you’ve been previously diagnosed with genital herpes and you think that you may have a recurrent infection, you need to visit a sexual healthcare professional right away. If left untreated, you can go on to have more severe outbreaks of the infection leading to serious complications.

HIV testing and diagnosis

HIV is a virus most commonly caught by having unprotected sex or by sharing infected needles to inject drugs. Once contracted, the virus weakens the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases, such as cancer. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Currently, there is no cure for HIV but an early diagnosis of the condition leaves room for treatments to be carried out to enable people with the virus to live a fulfilling life despite having the deadly infection. If you think you might have exposed yourself to HIV infection, you should get tested immediately. The earlier HIV is detected, the more likely it is that treatment will be successful.

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