Tag Archives: sexually transmitted infections

Ashamed to Ask About STDs?

Perhaps you’ve heard that STDs are a serious and growing problem. Maybe you know that young people between the ages of 15-24 account for half of the 20 million new STD infections that occur in the U.S. each. And you might have heard that one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD.

But you probably still feel like it can’t happen to you. Most of us do.

Ashamed to ask about STDs?
Nearly 9 in 10 young women don’t think they’re vulnerable to getting STDs. But statistics show they are. (Photo by Daniel Spase on Unsplash.)

Nearly 9 in 10 young women don’t think they’re vulnerable to getting chlamydia or gonorrhea. But statistics say they are.

We don’t like to talk about STDs. And we usually feel like we don’t have to. Most people who have chlamydia don’t know it since chlamydia often has no symptoms. It’s the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In Wisconsin alone, there were nearly 27,000 cases of chlamydia in 2016, a 10% increase over 2015. And while there were only about 6,500 cases of gonorrhea, that was a 24% increase over the previous year.

But it’s easy to ignore the numbers. Who wants to ask about getting tested when they feel fine?

But did you know?

Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are at an all-time high. Left untreated, STDs can cause:

  • Increased risk of giving or getting HIV
  • Long-term pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy complications

Testing is the only way to know if you have an STD.

During STD Awareness Month, we are spreading the word about preventing STDs. The good news is, STDs are preventable.

What can you do? Some tips from the CDC:

  • First, get tested. First Care Clinic provides free STI/STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin. Call or text 608-259-1605 or click to request an appointment. If you’re looking for STD testing for men, one option is Dane County public health.
  • The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. To reduce your risk, agree to have sex with only one, committed, long-term partner who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD. Talk with your partner about STDs before having sex. This might not be a comfortable conversation but having this conversation is important.
  • Get vaccinated for HPV. HPV is the most common STD. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective and can help you avoid HPV-related health problems like genital warts and some cancers.
  • If you test positive, getting an STD is not the end! Many STDS are curable and all are treatable.

Have further questions? Check out “Questions about STDs?” or read the CDC’s lowdown on STD prevention.

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3 Tips to Enjoy – and Not Regret – Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner. Spring Break can be a time to relax, stop thinking about school for a few days and have fun. For some, it means going to a Florida beach and partying. Drinking and enjoying time with your friends or significant other might make for a few days of fun. But sometimes this fun has unintended consequences.

What if you come back from Spring Break with more than you bargained for? Maybe an STD or an unintended pregnancy.

With 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. each year, this fateful scenario has become a reality for many students just like you.

But this doesn’t have to happen to you this Spring Break. Here are three things you can do to have a fun spring break that you won’t regret a few weeks later:

  1. Stay sober. Even if you enjoy a drink or two, knowing when to stop drinking helps you make sure that you are making the decisions you really want to make. When you’ve had more to drink, your inhibitions are down and it can be easy for you to do things you would not normally do. It also makes it easier for someone else to take advantage of you.
  2. Pre-decide your boundaries. Decide now, before you leave for Spring Break, what boundaries you want to maintain. It’s much easier to stick to a decision you made earlier – when your emotions and hormones were not involved – than to make your best decision in the heat of the moment. Check out 7 Reasons to Not Have Sex on Valentine’s Day. The same things are good to consider before Spring Break too.
  3. Stay safe. Stay with people you know and trust. Stay in groups of three to four or more people. Don’t let someone pressure you or talk you into going off with him alone.
Make it a Spring Break of no regrets.
Have fun with your friends and make this a Spring Break of no regrets.

Then relax, enjoy some warm weather and sun. Have fun with your friends and make it a Spring Break of no regrets.

To talk with someone confidentially, call or text First Care Clinic at 608‑259‑1605 or visit us online at firstcareclinic.org. If you’re concerned about your sexual health or just want to talk, contact us. Get in touch with First Care Clinic today to make your appointment for pregnancy testing or STI/STD testing and treatment for women. It’s free of charge.

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7 Reasons to NOT Have Sex on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about romance. Roses, chocolate and sex are big items of the day. But if you’re not in a long term committed relationship (marriage), you would do well to think again about having sex to celebrate the day. Stick with the roses, chocolate and a romantic dinner.

Here are seven reasons why postponing sex until you’re ready to say, “I do” is a good idea:

  1. Sex can become a substitute for healthy communication. When you decide to wait a while before you’re sexually active, you give yourself and your partner time to learn how to communicate well. You’ll have space to learn how to navigate conflict without leaving the emotional connection behind. According to Mark Regenerus, Phd, couples who “prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.”
  2. Having sex with a person develops deep bonds in your brain. Having sex with one person and then having that relationship end and starting again and again hurts. It hurts emotionally and part of this is due to the connections your brain has formed.
  3. If you wait to have sex, you won’t have other memories to deal with when you enter the bedroom after you get married. Further, a 2010 study reported in the Journal of Family Psychology that couples who wait until marriage are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before their vows.
  4. Refraining from sex lets you enjoy life without the fear of an unintended pregnancy. An estimated 15% of couples with “typical” condom use will get pregnant within the first year. This is reduced to 3% for “perfect” condom use. (Dr. Fitch on Condom Effectiveness: 2013 Update)
  5. Without sex, you are free from the fear of sexually transmitted diseases or infections. STDs are at an all-time high. According to the CDC, Young people aged 15-24 acquire half of all new STDS. Further, one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD, such as chlamydia or HPV.” While “perfect” condom usage may reduce risk, for STD prevention there is a significant difference between always use and typical use. Most research indicates that condoms are ineffective or substantially less effective at reducing STD risk if they are not used for every act of intercourse. According to the CDC, the most reliable ways to avoid transmission of STDs are to abstain from sexual activity, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
  6. You know that your partner loves you for who you are and not for what you can do for him or her. The man (or woman) you want to be with will respect you for sticking to your standards.
  7. No regrets. Rarely does someone say, “I wish I would have had sex with my boyfriend/girlfriend sooner.” But it is common for a person to wish they had waited longer. Some people wish they’d waited to be sexually active until they were with the person who would cherish, love and respect them for the rest of their lives. Researchers from the 2010 study said “the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability was in marriage …”
Be mine: Roses and chocolate
This Valentine’s Day what if he’s ready for sex, but you’d rather stick with the chocolate and flowers? You have the freedom to choose.

This Valentine’s Day, what if he’s ready for sex but you’re not? You have the freedom to choose.

In a healthy relationship, both people seek to be friends. They focus on getting to know each other and enjoying shared activities along the way. Physical involvement follows relational and emotional connectedness. Sex is treasured and reserved for a lifelong committed relationship.

You have the freedom to choose sex now or to save sex, beginning today, for the person who commits to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.

To talk with someone confidentially, call or text us at 608-259-1605. If you are concerned about your sexual health or want to talk, contact us. Make your appointment for STI/STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin today.

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Questions about STDs?

Do you have questions about STDs? Or wonder if you might have one and not know it?

April is STD Awareness Month. There is good reason to be aware of the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Infection rates in the United States continue to climb. Young people aged 15-24 account for about half of the nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections each year, according to the CDC.

The approximately 1.5 million cases of chlamydia reported in 2015 represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC. Substantial increases were also seen among reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.

Also according to the CDC, women and infants are at significant risk for long-term consequences of STDs. For some women maintaining the relationship with her partner may take a higher priority than STD risk reduction, thereby affecting her sexual and reproductive health, as well as the health of her unborn baby if she is pregnant.

So what can you do about it?

First, know the facts.

A few answers to common questions:

Q. I don’t have any symptoms. Can I still have an STD or STI?

A. Yes. While you may have symptoms such as vaginal itching, vaginal discharge or red sores with an STD, some common STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, often do not have symptoms. Most people who have chlamydia do not know it.

Q. How does someone get an STD or STI?

A. You get an STD or STI by having sex with someone who has that sexually transmitted disease or infection. Having sex means having anal, oral or vaginal contact.

Q. Can I prevent an STD by washing or douching after sex?

A. No.

Q. How do I know if I should get tested for an STD?

A. If you are sexually active, you should be tested. See the CDC’s guidelines for how often to get tested for various sexually transmitted infections. First Care Clinic offers comprehensive STD testing for women free of charge. Call or text 608-259-1605 to make an appointment to get tested.

Q. What do I do if I have an STD?

A. Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. First Care Clinic or your health care provider can recommend and prescribe specific treatment for you.

There is good news. STDs are preventable. There are things you can do to avoid getting or passing on an STD.

The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. To reduce your risk, agree to have sex with only one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Read the CDC’s “Lowdown” infographic for more about how to prevent STDs.

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