Phoenix is a beautiful city, beloved by both its residents and by the tourists who flock there every year to avoid the cold winter months. STD testing in Phoenix, though, can be a bit of a challenge.
If you need to be tested for STDs but aren’t quite sure where to turn, consider using STDcheck. With many testing sights in the Phoenix area, STDcheck provides a way for sexually active people to get private and reliable STD screenings.
What Are STDs?
STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are infections that are passed from one person to another during intimate sexual contact, especially when that sexual contact involves exchanging body fluids. STDs are most commonly spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex, but some STDs, like herpes, can be spread through kissing or other contacts with an open sore.
Some STDs, like syphilis and gonorrhea, are bacterial and can be cured with antibiotics. Others like HIV are caused by a virus. Viruses cannot be cured, but with the proper medical care and supervision, they can be controlled so that they do not affect your quality of life.
Examples of STDs include
- HPV or human papillomavirus
How Common Are STDs?
STDs are very common in the United States. In fact, this country has the highest STD rates in the industrialized world. The Centers for Disease Control, also known as the CDC, estimate that there are 110 million people who live with or are being treated for STDs at any given time.
More than 20 million STDs are diagnosed every year. That number has been on the rise for several years. Half of those diagnoses represent people in the 15 to 24 age range. Half of people who are sexually active will contract some form of STDs by the age of 25.
Of all the STDs, chlamydia is the most common curable disease. It attacks the cervix in women and the penis in men. Most people who have chlamydia don’t have symptoms of the disease, but they can still spread it to their sexual partners. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility and certain types of cervical cancer.
Although STDs are not in the least unusual, many people are embarrassed to talk to their doctors about risky sexual behaviors. Some doctors are also reluctant to broach the subject of STDs to their patients. As a result, people who have STDs may not be tested or treated appropriately.
What Are the Symptoms of STDs?
The symptoms of STDs differ depending on which illnesses are involved. Some people don’t exhibit any noticeable symptoms at all when they are first infected.
When symptoms do occur, they are often vague. People may ignore them or attribute the symptoms to other causes such as stress, fatigue or a touch of the flu. Some symptoms of early infection may include
- Discharge from the penis or vagina
- Sores around the mouth or genital area
- Rashes in the genital area
- Muscle aches
- Low grade fever
- Pain during sex
The only way to know for sure whether or not you have an STD is to get tested.
Who Should Get Tested for STDs?
If you’re sexually active, it’s a good idea to be tested for STDs at least once a year. It’s especially important to be tested if you don’t use protection like a condom or dental dam, if you’re a man who has sex with men, if your partner has an STD or uses IV drugs or if you have been sexually assaulted. Women are at a higher risk than men of contracting an STD.
Regular testing for STDs can help protect you and your partners. The sooner you detect an STD, the sooner you can start receiving treatment. Some illnesses such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be cured with antibiotics if they are detected early.
Left untreated, these infections may cause problems ranging from cancer to infertility. For instance, women with untreated HPV are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer. In some cases, untreated syphilis can attack the brain. This infection, known as tertiary syphilis can lead to irreversible dementia and psychosis.
If you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to be screened for STDs. Infections like syphilis can attack the unborn fetus resulting in birth defects or a stillbirth.
Getting tested is a valuable tool in taking care of your own health. Knowing whether or not you have an STD can also help you protect the health of your partner. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still pass an STD on to your partner during sex. If you suspect you’ve contracted an STD, get tested as soon as possible. Be sure to practice safer sex with your partners until the rest results come in.
If you have an STD, inform your partner so that he or she can also be tested and treated. Talk to your partner about ways to engage in safer – but still hot – sex.
What Is Safer Sex?
The term “safer sex” became familiar during the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the AIDS crisis. Safer sex deals with finding ways to express yourself as a sexual being without putting yourself at undue risk.
STDs are present in bodily fluids, such as blood, semen and saliva. Most commonly, they are transmitted from one person to another during intimate sexual contact, especially oral, vaginal or anal sex. Some STDs, like herpes, is present in saliva and can be transmitted by kissing.
According to the Johns Hopkins Health Library, any activity involving the exchange of bodily fluids carries some risk. The only way to guarantee that you won’t get an STD is to practice abstinence – stop having sex altogether. For many people, though, that advice sounds even more unpleasant then contracting an STD.
There are other things you can do to practice safer sex without giving up sexual contact forever. One of them is having an honest conversation with your partner about STDs and any risk factors you both have. Having sex with one partner, who does not have an STD, who is having sex only with you and who do not use IV drugs is another way to minimize your risk of being infected with an STD.
It’s also best to avoid drinking or using recreational drugs before sex. Being drunk or high can cloud your judgment and lead you to take risks you might not otherwise take.
You can also explore alternative ways to be sexually active. For instance, you may enjoy the idea of phone sex, mutual masturbation, non-sexual massage or heavy petting. You may enjoy watching adult videos or reading erotic stories with your partner. Explore each other’s sexual fantasies and experiment with safe ways to bring that fantasy to life.
If you want to have oral, vaginal or anal sex with your partner, your next best choice for safer sex is to use a barrier such as a condom or a dental dam. Barriers help prevent the exchange of fluids. While they are not 100 percent reliable, using them correctly and consistently will significantly reduce your chances of getting an STD.
Finally, if you are sexually active, getting tested for STDs on a regular basis is an important part of safer sex.
What STD Tests Do I Need?
Most STDs including HIV, syphilis, hepatitis and herpes are diagnosed with a simple blood test. Chlamydia and gonorrhea require a urine test. When you use STDcheck, you can request screening for one or two specific infections, or you can purchase a package deal to test for a range of STDs.
STDcheck offers confidential and accurate screenings for the following conditions:
- Hepatitis A, B and C
Who Provides Testing for STDs in Phoenix?
If you want to get tested, you can always talk to your primary care physician. He or she will order the tests you need and provide any necessary treatment. Doctors have heard just about every story, and the vast majority of them won’t judge you. They only want you to stay healthy.
That said, you may feel awkward talking to your doctor about your sexual experiences. For instance, you may not want to disclose that you’ve had sex outside of your marriage or that you are a man who has sex with men.
If talking with your doctor is not an option, consider using an alternative such as STDcheck. STDcheck has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They offer confidential testing for a range of STDs. When you work with STDcheck, you can expect to get your test results back in only one or two days, so there is no painful waiting period.
If it turns out you do have an STD, STDcheck provides access to a doctor who will answer your questions and initiate treatment.
STDcheck offers confidential testing at 4500 testing centers across the United States. There are more than a dozen sites in the Phoenix area. You can find them by going to STDcheck and entering your zip code.
Once you get to the testing site, the testing procedure itself takes only a few minutes. Depending on the STDs you want to be screened for, a technician will take blood from a vein in your arm and instruct you to leave a urine sample. You can return to your regular routine immediately. Your results will be ready within two days. Some results like HIV/RNA are available immediately.
Whether you test positive or negative, the results of your screening are absolutely private. Your test results will never be shared with a third party such as your health insurance company or your doctor.
What Happens After a Positive Test?
If you’ve tested positive for an STD, don’t panic. You’re in good company and there is no reason to feel embarrassed. Of course, the sooner you start receiving treatment, the better your outcome will be.
Putting off treatment, or not seeking treatment at all, can result in long-term health consequences. According to the CDC, 24,000 women each year become infertile due to undiagnosed and untreated STDs.
Although it may be a difficult conversation, you need to talk to anybody you’ve had sex within the past 60 days so that they, too, can be tested and treated. Practice safer sex, like using a condom or a dental dam, until your doctor says that the infection is out of your system.
Testing for STDs in Phoenix is easily available through STDcheck. If you’re at risk for an STD, get tested as soon as possible. If the test comes back positive, talk to a doctor and pursue treatment.
You deserve to be healthy and to take pleasure in your sexuality.