std basics

AHF Wellness Centers provide free testing for sexually-transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. Our testing counselors can see you on a walk-in basis, so you can get tested when it’s convenient for you, without an appointment. The testing process is fast, friendly, and confidential. Your sexual health is yours to protect, and we’re here to help.

We are happy to answer any questions about the STD testing process at our sites.

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Getting tested for STDs keeps you and anyone you have sex with healthy. Unless you’re abstinent, you’re at some risk of getting an STD. People with STDs may not have any symptoms, so getting tested is the only way to know your STD status. Testing — and, if necessary, treatment — protects you from the long-term health problems that can come with untreated STDs. Testing keeps you from spreading any disease to your partner (or partners), and at our centers, it’s quick, easy, and free.

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About The Different STDs

In addition to STD screening and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV, AHF Wellness Centers provide information about STDs, safer sex, cryotherapy treatments for genital warts, and referrals to doctors who specialize in HIV for anyone who tests positive. Our testing counselors can see you on a walk-in basis, so you can get tested when it’s convenient for you, without an appointment.

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Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of the penis, urethra, anus, vagina, cervix, or rarely, the throat or eye. People get it mostly through anal or vaginal sex, although oral sex is also a risk. People with chlamydia may have no symptoms or only mild ones, and can spread chlamydia without knowing they have an infection. If there are symptoms, they can include:

  • pain or burning while urinating
  • unusual discharge (milky, watery, yellowish, strong-smelling) from the penis or vagina
  • swelling of the anus, testicles, or vagina
  • bleeding between periods
  • pain during vaginal sex

A full course of antibiotics (all the pills prescribed) will knock out chlamydia. Regular sex partners also need to get treatment, or they can pass chlamydia back to the treated partner.

Why Care About STDs?

While many STDs are fairly common and the first symptoms of them may be mild, the consequences of leaving STDs untreated can be serious. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can both lead to epididymitis – an inflammation of the tube connected to the testicles – or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which affects the uterus and fallopian tubes. Either can be painful and cause infertility. Gonorrhea can also lead to ulcers in the throat or rectum. After 10 to 20 years, syphilis can cause organ damage, paralysis, dementia and death. Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia can be passed to a child during pregnancy or birth. And having another STD can put you at greater risk for getting HIV.

Gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis can all be completely cured with antibiotics, but they don’t always have obvious symptoms. Regular testing, depending on your risk level, lets you get treatment if you need it, avoiding any long-term consequences and stopping STDs from spreading.

How to Prevent STDs

While abstinence is the only way to completely avoid the risk of STDs, condoms have proven extremely effective in stopping many STDs – including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – from spreading. Condoms will also reduce the risk of catching or spreading HPV, but because warts can show up on areas of the genitals or mouth not covered by a condom, they reduce the risk less. If you notice you have a wart, you can lessen the chance of spreading HPV by covering it with a barrier or keeping your partner out of contact with it. There is also a vaccine available to prevent the strains of HPV commonly linked to genital warts and cancer.

In addition to using condoms, you can keep your sex safer by having fewer partners, talking with them about your STD status and sexual history, and getting tested regularly.

Source: HIV.gov

HAVE A QUESTION?

If you have a question that did not get answered here, we invite you to ask an STD Testing Counselor by filling out the form below.