Common STDs

What Are The Most Common STDs?

Currently, the CDC estimates 20 million new STD infections every year in the United States alone and has referred to the current surge of STD rates in the United States as a national epidemic due to the significant amount of cases nationwide (CDC, 2017). This massive uptick in the number of reported STD infections can largely be attributed to lack of unawareness around what STDs are, how they are transmitted, methods of prevention, and how and where to get tested and treated.

The majority of people infected with STDs are unaware of the infection because so many STDs can persist in the body without any obvious physical symptoms. As such, the continual and ongoing spread of STDs happens quickly from one unsuspecting sexual partner to the next.

There are over a dozen STDs known by the medical community, but the most common STDs in the United States are:

Click here to learn more about the common STDs in the STDAware resource library.

Early identification is crucial to the successful treatment and management of any STD condition. If left untreated, any STD infection can develop into damaging and severe, long-term health issues.

STDAware returns results within 1-2 days after testing is completed **. To find out more about how to get tested at STDAware, click here.

MEDICAL EXPERTS AGREE THAT ROUTINE STD TESTING SHOULD

BE A STANDARDIZED COMPONENT OF AN OVERALL HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!

Routine and pro-active STD testing is one of the strongest defenses against the spread of STDs (when tested at the same time any sexual partner). STD testing before engaging in sexual activity with a new partner ensures that any existing STD is identified, addressed, and treated before moving into a sexual relationship. This creates trust and confidence within a sexual relationship as well as ensures overall health and well-being.

GETTING TESTED FOR STDs DEMONSTRATES A LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR YOURSELF AND ANY SEXUAL PARTNER(S)

STDAware offers post-test consultations to any of their patients whose test comes back positive for having an STD (with the exception of HSV-1) at no additional cost. STDAware patient clientele who are diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HSV-2 will qualify for free treatment. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

GET AWARE. STDAWARE!

STDAware is committed to increasing awareness and elevating the general knowledge around sexual health by providing no-cost educational resources alongside exceptional STD testing services. As such, the sexual health experts as STDAware have compiled a brief overview of each of the most common STD conditions below.


Most Common STD Summaries

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the highest reported bacterial STD among sexually active individuals. The CDC estimates that there are just over 2.8 million new chlamydia cases reported each year. Chlamydia is primarily spread through sexual contact of infected bodily fluids (vaginal fluids, semen, pre-ejaculate) with sensitive mucous membranes of the vagina, penis, rectum, mouth, throat, and eyes. Shared sex toys can transmit chlamydia infections. Proper sex toy sanitation steps should always be a consideration as part of overall sexual health measures.

Chlamydia often goes undiagnosed for extended periods of time because it can exist in the body while exhibiting no signs or symptoms. The asymptomatic nature of chlamydia makes this STD easily and quickly passed from one unknowing partner to the next. Approximately 50% of males will exhibit physical symptoms while 90% of women will NOT experience any signs or symptoms of a chlamydia infection. This fact, alone, contributes to the widespread infection rate of chlamydia in America, today.

For those who do experience physical signs of a chlamydia infection, the most common symptoms include

  • Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Painful burning during urination
  • Pain during or shortly after intercourse (women)
  • Abnormal bleeding (women)

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE CHLAMYDIA IS TO GET TESTED.

STDAware offers an FDA approved Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAA) Urine test to screen for chlamydia. NAA testing detects actual chlamydia bacteria*. Testing results through STDAware are returned within 1-2 days after testing is completed.

To learn more about the Chlamydia Urine Test offered by STDAware, click here.

Failure to identify and treat chlamydia early on can result in the infection spreading to the urinary tract, cervix, uterus, and the fallopian tubes causing a life-threatening condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID.)

STDAware has the fastest turn around time in the industry for test results. Most patients will receive their results within 1-2 days after testing is completed**.

In pregnant women, chlamydia can cause complications, pre-term birth, and in severe cases, the death of the unborn fetus. Chlamydia can be passed from mother to child during labor and manifest in the infant as lung and eye infections and can also infect the baby’s urogenital tract.

STDAware OFFERS TREATMENT TO ANY OF THEIR PATIENTS WHO ARE DIAGNOSED WITH CHLAMYDIA, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST

Chlamydia is relatively easy to treat and cure and, in most cases, requires a single dose of antibiotics. It is essential to follow the doctor’s orders and abstain from sexual activity until confirmation testing shows that chlamydia has been completely eradicated from the body. While treatment simple, it does not create immunity to chlamydia, and it cannot undo any damage done to the body that may have been caused by the infection prior to treatment.

Anyone who tests positive for having a chlamydia infection, through STDAware, will be contacted by an in-house physician for a post-test consultation, free of charge. During this consultation, the doctor will review the test results and treatment options. Patients who test positive for chlamydia through STDAware will qualify for free treatment. STDAware is the only online testing service that also offers prescriptive services to treat chlamydia. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

GETTING TESTED FOR STDs SHOWS YOU CARE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR SEXUAL PARTNER

Testing should be performed at the same time as any sexual partner(s) to prevent re-infection from occurring. Chlamydia has a high rate of re-infection meaning that the infection returns even after being treated. ). Prolonged or recurrent chlamydia infections have been linked to certain types of cancers and other long-term health complications.

Maintaining a chlamydia free status involves a mature and responsible approach to preventative measures such as routine STD screening and safe sex methodology.

Aside from abstinence, being in a long-term, mutually monogamous, STD-free relationship, or routine STD screening, the next strongest defense is consistent and correct condom use.

To learn more about correct condom use visit the STDAware blog on Condoms and STDs, click here. Or Click the below links to learn more!

All sexually active individuals are at risk of chlamydia infection. Individuals who test positive for chlamydia should also consider being tested for gonorrhea and HIV as many people with a chlamydia infection are also found to have gonorrhea. Additionally, a chlamydia infection increases your risk of contracting HIV (NAM, 2017).

Medical experts agree that routine testing for STDs is one of the best defenses against the spread of any STD. STDAware offers full panel and individual testing options. To learn more, click here.

*A chlamydia urine test will not detect a chlamydia infection in the throat, anus, or eyes.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is the second most reported bacterial STD in America with more than half a million new cases of gonorrhea reported in the United States each year. Gonorrhea is typically spread through the sexual contact of bodily fluids (vaginal fluid, semen, pre-ejaculate) with the mucous membranes of the vagina, penis, rectum, mouth, throat, or eyes. Ejaculation does not have to occur in order for infection to occur as gonorrhea is a bacteria and contact with an infected part of the body is enough to pass the infection.

The actual number of gonorrhea infections is likely much higher than the reported 2.5 million because the majority of gonorrhea infections do not come with obvious signs or symptoms. Consequently, gonorrhea infections, very often, go undiagnosed for unhealthy periods of time. Meanwhile, the same undiagnosed gonorrhea infections are being quickly spread from one unknowing partner to the next.

Men are more likely to exhibit symptoms of a gonorrhea infection than women, which is alarming because the consequences of a gonorrhea infection in women can result in additional long-term health risks and complications in the female body, than for men.

For those who do experience physical signs of a gonorrhea infection, the most common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Cloudy urine
  • Pain or discomfort of the penis or vagina
  • Painful burning during urination
  • Abnormal bleeding between periods (women)
  • Abnormal or sudden changes in menstrual bleeding (women)
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Joint swelling or pain

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE GONORRHEA IS TO GET TESTED

STDAware offers an FDA approved Dual Kinetic Assay (DKA) Urine Test to screen for gonorrhea. DKA testing will look for actual gonorrhea bacteria*. Testing results through STDAware are typically returned within 1-2 days after testing is completed.

To learn more about the Gonorrhea Urine Test offered by STDAware, click here.

Early identification is vital to the successful treatment of gonorrhea. In both men and women, gonorrhea can travel through the urinary tract resulting in UTI (urinary tract infection) and can attack the reproductive organs leading to infertility. In women, long-term, untreated infection can result in PID. If left untreated, gonorrhea can infect the blood and spinal column leaving long-term damage to vital organs, soft tissue, and the reproductive system.

STDAware makes getting tested quick, simple, and accessible. To learn more about how to get tested at STDAware, click here.

Infection during pregnancy is dangerous and can lead to miscarriage and premature birth. Gonorrhea can be passed from mother to child during childbirth. Gonorrhea infection in newborns affects the infant’s eyes and could lead to partial or complete blindness if not recognized and treated shortly after birth.

Gonorrhea is also treatable and typically cured with a dual therapy of an antibiotic injection as well as oral medication. Treating gonorrhea is relatively simple but does not create immunity to gonorrhea and cannot undo any damage to the body that the infection may have left behind.

STDAware OFFERS TREATMENT TO ANY OF ITS PATIENTS WHO ARE DIAGNOSED WITH GONORRHEA, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST

Anyone who tests positive for having gonorrhea through STDAware will be contacted by one of the STDAware physician's for a post-test consultation, free of charge. During this consultation, the doctor will review the test results and treatment options. Patients who test positive for gonorrhea through STDAware will qualify for free treatment. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing company that provides in-house treatment services. To learn more about the no-cost services offered by STDAware, click here.

DEFENDING YOUR SEXUAL HEALTH ALSO PROTECTS YOUR SEXUAL PARTNER(S)

Testing for gonorrhea should be conducted at the same time as any sexual partner(s). Much like chlamydia, gonorrhea has a high rate of re-infection, and it is important to follow the doctor’s orders and conduct a follow-up test to ensure that the infection has been fully cleared from the body. Failing to complete treatment or becoming re-infected with gonorrhea can lead to antibiotic resistance which means that the bacteria can mutate and become an untreatable "superbug."

Any sexually active individual is at risk of a gonorrhea infection. Maintaining a gonorrhea-free STD status means taking responsible and pro-active steps to be routinely tested for STDs anytime there is a change in sexual partner(s) or habits. Aside from abstinence and regular STD testing, consistent and correct condom use can prevent the spread of STDs by up to 98%.

Many people with a gonorrhea infection are also found to have chlamydia. Additionally, a gonorrhea infection increases your risk of contracting HIV (NAM, 2017). Testing for chlamydia and HIV at the same time as gonorrhea should be considered.

*A gonorrhea urine test will not detect a chlamydia infection in the throat, anus, or eyes.

Syphilis

Syphilis infection rates are increasing and are the third most commonly reported STD in America, today. In 2016 the CDC reported roughly 88,042 new infections of syphilis across the United States. Syphilis is typically spread through the contact of an open syphilis chancre or sore, usually found inside or around the vagina, penis, rectum, mouth, or eyes. However, another common agent of syphilis transmission is the sharing of needles and needle equipment.

As with other STDs, people with syphilis often do not realize that they are infected because the disease can persist without any signs, or the symptoms are so mild and short-lived that they are confused for other non-STD related conditions. It is common for an infected person not to exhibit any physical symptoms until critical damage has been done to the body.

The lifecycle of the syphilis virus is divided into four different stages:

  1. Primary - (first) stage of syphilis occurs 10 days to 3 months after being exposed. There is typically a single or multiple sores around the location that syphilis entered the body (this can include inside the vagina, mouth or rectum). These sores are usually (but not always) firm, round and painless, and will last around 3-6 weeks. It is not always apparent if a person has syphilis sores, especially if they are the inside of the vaginal canal or the walls of the rectum. Syphilis sores are typically painless and often disappear quickly and therefore mistaken for other dermatological conditions.
  2. Secondary - this stage consists of skin rashes and mucous membrane lesions that appear 2-10 weeks after the first sores. The mucous membrane lesions are sores found in the mouth, vagina or anus areas. Whereas, the rash can be rough and red, or show up as reddish brown spots on the palms of the hands or bottoms of the feet. Other possible symptoms are fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, dizziness, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and weakness, and fatigue.
  3. Latent – this stage is when the virus is latent or dormant in the body, and there are no visible signs or symptoms of syphilis. This can stay true for years if one goes untreated.
  4. Tertiary - this is the last and most serious, life-threatening, stage of syphilis. If left untreated various organ systems can be affected, such as the heart and blood vessels, the brain and nervous system. This stage occurs 10-30 years after the initial infection.

In general, the symptoms are the determining factor for which of the four stages of Syphilis one is experiencing. The stages can overlap, and symptoms do not always develop or develop in the same order; therefore, it is determined on a case-by-case basis. If an infected person truly is not experiencing any signs or symptoms, then it is likely that they are in one of the last two stages.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE SYPHILIS IS TO GET TESTED

Early detection is critical to treating a syphilis infection before severe damage to the body is done. STDAware offers and FDA Approved Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) Blood Test, which uses a methodology called a flocculation to screen for syphilis. The RPR blood test will look for antibodies to a syphilis infection. A positive result will need a confirmation test using additional testing methodologies. A positive test result could also indicate antibodies from a past syphilis infection (the antibodies can stay in the body for years even if it was successfully treated), or other treponemal conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus, malaria, mononucleosis, infectious hepatitis, leprosy, brucellosis, atypical pneumonia, typhus, yaws, pinta, or pregnancy.

To learn more about the Syphilis RPR Blood Test offered at STDAware, click here.

Once diagnosed, syphilis can be treated and cured. Depending on which stage of syphilis a person is determined to be in the treatment will involve varying schedules of penicillin injections at structured treatment intervals. Being cured of syphilis does not mean that a person is immune to the disease and any damage done to the body by the syphilis infection will not be undone.

ROUTINE STD TESTING GUARDS THE FUTURE FROM HEALTH RISKS

Medical communities have issued concerns over the overall rise of STD incidents in general and the increase of syphilis infections in particular. Specifically in young pregnant women who do not seek or cannot afford prenatal care resulting in an alarming increase in congenital syphilis (syphilis passed from mother to child). Congenital syphilis can result in deformed bones, severe anemia, loss of hearing or sight, premature or stillborn birth, or miscarriage.

STDAware PROVIDES MEDICAL CONSULTATION TO ANY OF THEIR PATIENTS WHO TEST POSITIVE FOR SYPHILIS, AT NO ADDITIONAL COST

Anytime an STDAware client is diagnosed with syphilis one of the STDAware doctors will attempt to reach out to them by phone for a post-test consultation**. This consultation call comes at no additional cost and will provide information on what the test results mean and what the treatment options and resources are. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing provider that offers post-test consultations, free of charge. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here

GETTING TESTED FOR SYPHILIS SHOULD BE A ROUTINE PART OF AN OVERALL HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Getting tested before engaging in sexual activity should be a first defense in the spread of STDs. At the very least, any sexual partner(s) should be tested for syphilis and other STDs at the same time to prevent infection or re-infection.

All sexually active individuals are at risk of syphilis infection. However, there is an increased risk in men who have sex with other men and anyone who shares needles or needle equipment. Having a syphilis infection increases the risk of also being infected with HIV. Testing for HIV at the same time as testing for syphilis should be a consideration.

STDAware provides full panel and individual testing options. Click here to learn more about the testing and treatment options offered by STDAware.

Genital Herpes

There are two types of Herpes Viruses. HSV-1 is typically responsible for oral or lip herpes and HSV-2, which is generally associated with genital herpes. However, due to the popularity of oral sex, in America, the instances of HSV-1 being found on the genitals and HSV-2 being located on the mouth, lips, and throat, is increasingly common. Because of this fact, it is wise to consider being tested for both strains of herpes at the same time. To learn more about the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2, click here.

Both herpes strains can and are spread through skin-to-skin of an infected area with a mucous membrane, saliva, or any type of sexual activity or sexual touching. Both types of herpes are the most contagious during an active outbreak with visible symptoms and sores, but herpes can and is spread when there are no signs or symptoms.

According to the CDC, more than 1 out of every 6 people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes. But the majority of individuals infected with herpes are unaware of the infection and have experienced no symptoms. In the United States, an estimated 50-80% of HSV-1 and 20-40% of HSV-2 infected individuals show no signs or symptoms of a Herpes infection. The asymptomatic, ongoing, and continual spread of both strains of herpes should be of high consideration when engaging in sexual activity.

For those who do experience symptoms, the common indicators of herpes are a dull pain around the infected areas or sharp, burning pain associated with open sores and blisters. Many people will experience itching and tingling leading up to an outbreak of blisters. Outbreaks tend to last two to three weeks, and vary in severity. Although the infection stays in the body for the rest of a person’s life, as years go by, these outbreaks lessen in severity and duration.

ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HERPES, OR WHICH TYPE OF HERPES, IS TO GET TESTED

Testing for herpes can be challenging to convince a doctor to conduct unless a person is experiencing physical symptoms. This practice should be revisited because the amount of time it can take a person to experience symptoms after being exposed to either strain of herpes can vary greatly depending on the individual. Both types < a href="https://www.stdaware.com/blog/how-do-you-know-if-you-have-herpes/" target="_blank">of herpes can lay dormant in the body for prolonged periods of time but can still be transmitted to unsuspecting sexual partners in the absence of physical symptoms (lesions or sores at and around the point of infection).

A simple blood test will confirm or deny the suspicions based on the antibodies in the blood sample that will be present in reaction to the herpes virus.

STDAware offers an FDA Approved Immunoglobulin (IgG) Immunoassay (IA) test for both HSV-1 & HSV-2. This IA will detect specific IgGs or antibodies specific to HSV-1 or HSV-2. Separate checks are required to test for each strain of HSV-1 or HSV-2 because the test must be “told” which strain of herpes antibodies to look for.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HERPES TESTS OFFERED AT STDAware, CLICK THE LINKS BELOW

Millions of people with herpes live long, happy lives without any serious health complications. However, if the infection spreads to the urethra, it can cause complications of the bladder. For men who have sex with other men, rectal inflammation is a concern, and in rare instances, HSV-1 can travel to the spinal column resulting in meningitis or inflammation of the brain (herpes encephalitis). Herpes infections in the eyes can lead to scarring of the cornea and partial blindness

Babies born to mothers who become infected with HSV-2 during pregnancy can become infected with neonatal herpes, which has a number of health implications including brain damage, blindness, or even death. Babies exposed to herpes during gestation and birth will have what is known as “congenital herpes,” meaning that the herpes virus will exist in their body for the rest of their lives. Pregnant women should consult with their physicians if they are aware of having HSV-2 and should be tested for herpes if there are any new sexual partners or activities during pregnancy.

Herpes cannot be cured. However, it can be managed to reduce the number and severity of active outbreaks that a person experiences. In some cases, treatment can eliminate outbreaks completely. Treatment of herpes involves viral suppressants as well as topical medications. It is important to know that while treatment for herpes can reduce the chances of transmission, herpes can still be spread even in the absence of physical symptoms.

The chronic and asymptomatic nature of a herpes infection should be managed more than any individual or acute episode or outbreak. Herpes infections can be activated by a variety of “triggers” which can range from physical or emotional stress, local trauma, fever or illness that result in an overworked immune system, immunosuppressant therapy, exposure to ultraviolet light, or hormonal shifts and imbalances. Overall wellness and support should be a priority for individuals managing a herpes infection.

STDAware IS THE ONLY ONLINE STD TESTING SERVICE THAT OFFERS TREATMENT FOR GENITAL HERPES (HSV-2) AT NO ADDITIONAL COST

Anyone who tests positive for having HSV-2, through STDAware, will be contacted by a medical professional for a post-test consultation, free of charge. During this post-test consultation the doctor will review the test results and treatment options, at no cost. Patients who are diagnosed with HSV-2 through STDAware will qualify for a first time free treatment. STDAware is the only STD testing service that offers a full suite of medical support and prescription solutions. Other testing services send the results without any follow-up. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

TESTING FOR BOTH TYPES OF HERPES CAN PREVENT A LIFETIME OF PAIN AND SUFFERING

The fact that both herpes viruses can lay dormant in the body for many years without manifesting any physical symptoms makes getting tested for herpes before engaging in sex with a new partner is one of the strongest defenses against the spread of the herpes disease. Identifying if one or both partners has HSV-2 can ensure that both partners take effective preventative and safe sex measures when engaging in sexual activities along with proper management and treatment protocols.

Studies show that a genital herpes infection significantly increases the risk of also having chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Testing for these additional STDs at the same time as herpes (especially if there is a physical sore), should be a consideration

STDAware offers affordable, full panel testing options as well as individual testing solutions. To learn more about the testing services provided by STDAware, click here.

Hepatitis B

There are three types of Hepatitis infections: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, & Hepatitis C. All three types of hepatitis infections attack the liver and can cause varying degrees of distress to the body ranging from an overall sense of malaise to severe liver damage, liver cancer, liver failure, or even death.

Out of these three types, Hepatitis B is the most common. Hepatitis B is an STD, and it can be vaccinated against, but there is an estimated 850,000 - 2.2 million people who are chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus in the United States.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and saliva. It is most commonly spread through sexual activities but can also be transmitted through shared needles or from mother to child during childbirth

Many people living with Hepatitis B will not realize that they are infected as they do not appear sick and symptoms of “fatigue” may be mistaken for other common “life factors.” Because Hepatitis B can persist in the body with little to none or confusing symptoms, the virus can unknowingly be spread from one unsuspecting partner to the next.

Common indicators of a Hepatitis B infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms (this is true of Hepatitis A, B, & C)
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gray colored bowel movements
  • Pain in the joints
  • Jaundice

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HEPATITIS, OR WHICH TYPE OF HEPATITIS, IS TO GET TESTED

STDAware offers an FDA approved Immunoassay (IA) Blood Test, which will detect the antibodies specific to Hepatitis A, B, or C. Separate tests are required to test for each type of Hepatitis because the test must be “told” which type of hepatitis antibodies to look for.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HEPATITIS BLOOD TESTS OFFERED BY STDAWARE CLICK THE LINKS BELOW

The majority of adult aged people who are infected with hepatitis B will be able to fight off the infection. Hepatitis B generally manifests itself in an acute or mild state for the first six months. An acute Hepatitis B infection can usually be healed by an, otherwise, healthy body and immune system. However, if it the infection is not resolved by the body’s natural immune functions and continues to progress it can become a life-long chronic illness. Numerous serious health issues can occur during the chronic stage of hepatitis B, including severe liver damage and death.

According to the CDC, roughly 2% - 6% adults will suffer chronic and sever effects of the disease. In contrast, 90% of infants and 30% under the age of 5 will become chronically infected

Pregnant mothers who are infected with Hepatitis B can transmit the virus to the baby during gestational development. Women who do not have access to regular prenatal care should ensure they are screened for a hepatitis B infection.

Early identification is critical to the proper management and treatment of a hepatitis B infection. Not recognizing the infection and not making adequate lifestyle adjustments to ensure the body can fight off the virus (such as avoiding alcohol) can increase the risk of the infection moving into a chronic state.

Hepatitis B can be treated in multiple ways depending on the activity of the virus and your risk level for liver damage (cirrhosis). Hepatitis B treatment can come in the form of an injection aimed at helping the immune system fight the infection and antiviral drugs aimed at stopping the virus from replicating.

STDAWARE IS THE ONLY ONLINE STD SERVICE PROVIDER THAT OFFERS TREATMENT CONSULTATION AT NO ADDITIONAL COST

Anyone who tests positive for having Hepatitis A, B, or C, through STDAware, will be contacted for a free post-test consultation. During the post-test consultation one of the board-certified physicians, on staff at STDAware, will discuss the test results and treatment options. STDAware is the only STD testing company that offers medical counseling and follow up as part of their suite of services. To learn more about the no-cost services provided by STDAware, click here.

ALL SEXUALLY ACTIVE INDIVIDUALS ARE AT RISK OF A HEPATITIS B INFECTION

Medical experts agree that regular and proactive STD testing should be built into any healthcare routine. Taking steps to avoid the spread of any STD is a mature and healthy approach to overall wellness. Getting tested at the same time as any sexual partner(s) before engaging in sexual activity allows any existing condition to be addressed before moving forward and ensures proper treatment and safe sex measures are observed in the instance of one or both partner testing positive for having an STD.

STDAware provides full panel and individual testing options. Click here to learn more about the testing and treatment options offered by STDAware

HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus which is an RNA virus that inserts a copy of itself (DNA genome copy) into a human cell and “tells” it to replicate and multiply. HIV specifically attacks and inserts itself into the CD4 white blood cells (T Cells), which are responsible for the body’s immune response to other virus and bacteria. HIV, in essence, destroys the human body’s ability to fight infections and illness by mutating the cells responsible for those essential immune system functions.

HIV is transmitted when the blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, or breast milk of an infected individual comes into contact with the mucous membrane of an uninfected person. Mucous membranes are found in the vagina, penis, rectum, mouth, and eyes. Sharing of needles and needle equipment can also transmit the virus because infected blood can remain on the needle or equipment when used by another person.

HIV is not transmitted through saliva, sweat, or tears unless there is blood mixed with it. HIV cannot be transmitted by mosquito, tick, or other bug bites. And HIV cannot be spread through any physical contact that does not involve the exchange of bodily fluids (such as mutual masturbation or social touching, closed-lipped kissing, shaking hands, etc.). HIV cannot be transmitted by food handled by an HIV positive person.

HIV is a disease with three distinct stages:

  • Stage 1: Clinically referred to as an “acute HIV infection,” this stage typically presents as a cold or flu within 2-4 weeks after infection. During this stage, the “viral load” (amount of HIV in the blood) is very high and therefore increasingly contagious
  • Stage 2: This is the “latent” stage of HIV, which means that, while HIV persists within the body, the rate of replication has slowed down and the viral load is reduced (compared with the acute phase). During this phase, an infected individual will experience no symptoms or illness but they will remain contagious and can continue to spread HIV to others. The latent stage of HIV can last for approximately ten years, although, based on an individual’s internal and external factors, some people may move through the latent phase faster or slower than others
  • Stage 3: At this point of infection, the viral load increases to a point where there are not enough T cells (below 200 T cells per mm) to fight off any form of infection and a person is considered to have AIDS.  During this time many opportunistic infections can invade the body and become lethal.  People with AIDS are highly contagious, and the average life expectancy is three years (CDC, 2018).

HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy. However, if HIV is caught and treated before the mother’s viral load is at a critical level, transmission to the baby can be reduced to less than 2% (March Of Dimes, 2018). Risk of transmission to a baby in utero is increased if HIV is acquired during pregnancy. Mother’s who test negative for HIV before or at the beginning of pregnancy should exercise measures to ensure they remain negative.

Babies born to HIV positive mothers will receive treatment shortly after birth and continue to receive treatment up to six weeks after birth. They will also be required to submit to HIV blood testing every 3 to 6 weeks until they are six months old.

HIV mothers should avoid breastfeeding, even if they are taking antiviral therapies (ART). Breastmilk is a high-risk mode of HIV transmission, and some of the medication prescribed for HIV could contribute some level of toxins in the breastmilk as well. Many hospitals will provide resources to subsidized formula payment and HIV negative breast milk banks.

THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE HIV IS TO GET TESTED

The CDC estimates that 1 in 7 people, who have HIV, actually know it and are taking steps to treat it. Individuals infected with HIV can go for prolonged periods of time without exhibiting any signs or symptoms and continue to infect other people. If left untreated HIV will, over time, turn into AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) at which time an opportunistic infection such as cancer, or even a basic cold, can take hold in the body and become fatal.

STDAware offers two kinds of FDA Approved HIV blood tests:

The HIV Rapid Antibody blood test looks for the antibodies produced in reaction to an HIV infection but may not be accurate for up to 9 weeks after suspected exposure. It is advised to be tested again 2-3 months after suspected exposure to confirm a negative HIV status.

Comparatively, the HIV RNA Early Detection blood test will be accurate 9-21 days after suspected exposure. Because it tests for actual HIV in the blood, this test can identify an acute HIV infection that an immunoassay test might miss. A follow-up test is still advised within 90 days of suspected exposure to confirm a negative test result.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE HIV TESTING OPTIONS AT STDAware, CLICK HERE.

HIV cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Modern medicine has come a long way in finding ways to reduce the risk of HIV infection as well as control an active HIV infection so that it does not turn into AIDS. There are also medications (PEP and PrEP) that can prevent HIV in certain situations. To learn more about medications that can prevent HIV, click here.

STDAware IS THE ONLY ONLINE STD TESTING PROVIDER THAT OFFERS HIV COUNSELING SERVICES AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE

If an STDAware patient tests positive for having HIV, the testing laboratory will contact them for a confirmation test. If the confirmation test comes back positive as well, ART (antiretroviral therapy) will need to be started as quickly as possible.

STDAware's medical staff will provide a post-test consultation to review treatment options as well as offer referrals to support centers and groups to ensure the proper medical attention is given, free of charge.

It is all too common for someone infected with HIV not to experience any symptoms and to subsequently continue to spread HIV to others without knowing it.

De-stigmatizing HIV testing will play a significant role in reducing the number of HIV infections in America. Routine and pro-active HIV testing should be a part of any sexually active individuals healthcare routine. HIV testing should be sought anytime there is a change in sexual partners or activities. Additional risk factors include sharing needles or needle equipment or working in a healthcare environment that could expose you to HIV infected equipment and materials. Men who have sex with men are recommended to get tested for HIV every 3 – 6 months.

Genital Warts

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are about 14 million new infections each year, in addition to the 79 million Americans who are already infected with HPV. There are 100’s of strains of HPV. Many are considered low-risk (non-cancer causing) and are typically eradicated by the human immune system before any symptoms occur and without treatment. The low-risk strains HPV-6 and HPV-11 are most commonly associated with genital warts. High-risk strains of HPV are HPV-16 and 18, which are associated with approximately 70% of cervical cancer and other cancer forming strains 31, 33, 45, and 52 (NIH, 2018).

Even though vaginal and anal sex are the most common forms of transmission, it is not limited to these interactions. This virus is passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms, making it challenging to contain and treat.

This virus is preventable with the help of a vaccine. This vaccine became available in the past 12 years and guards against the most common genital wart and cancer-causing strains of HPV. According to the CDC nearly all sexually active people, who do not get a vaccine, will get infected at some point in their lives. An estimated 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and suffer from genital warts, or unusual growths or a form of HPV caused cancer or pre-cancer.

While HPV is an all too common STD, there are currently no standardized, approved tests for males and the only type of testing for females is the PAP smear which detects cancerous or precancerous growths on the cervix that may, or may not, be due to HPV. Since HPV can be spread through any type of sexual contact (kissing, petting, mutual masturbation, oral, anal, or vaginal sex) the importance of safe sex practices are paramount in the reduction of the spread of any form of HPV.

STDs ARE COMMON BECAUSE TESTING ISN’T

The spread of STDs has increased in America to critical levels. According to the director of the CDC, the widespread nature of STDs in America today “…is a clear warning of a growing threat.” And the growing number of infections “is outpacing our ability to respond.” (CDC, 2017)

Unfortunately, there is a long-standing sense of stigma, dread, and shame associated with STD testing when; in fact, the opposite should be the case. NOT GETTING TESTED FOR STDs SHOULD BE A POINT OF CONCERN.

STDAware is committed to increasing awareness around STDs and sexual well-being and offers no-cost educational resources on their website in addition to the best STD testing solutions in the industry.

STDAware makes getting tested quick, simple, and convenient. With the fastest turn around time for test results (1-2 days after testing is completed), there’s less time left wondering.

STDAware has over 4,000 testing laboratory locations, nationwide. To find an STDAware testing location near you, click here.

STDAware Cares

We’re here for you. STDAware is the ONLY STD testing provider that offers no-cost medical counseling and post-test consultations for any STD condition (with the exception of HSV-1) in addition to prescriptive solutions for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HSV-2. Other STD testing companies just send you the results leaving you to wonder “Now what?”

Your privacy is important to us and we take special and specific precautions to ensure that your information is protected and private. To learn more about how STDAware safeguards your information, click here.

Advise counselors are available to answer your questions. Contact us toll-free: 1-855-588-6958 or email: customerservice@stdaware.com

STOP WORRYING. GET TESTED.

**STDAware returns most test results within 1-2 days after testing is completed. In the event that a patient tests positive for having an STD, one of the in-house medical physicians will attempt to contact the patient by phone to discuss the results. If after three attempts, over the course of one week, the doctor cannot reach the patient over the phone, the results will be released electronically for viewing in the patient portal.

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