Blog

TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

PLEASE CALL 888.249.6716 or ORDER ONLINE

Same day appointments available. Walk-ins not accepted. We require approximately 15 minutes notice to schedule testing.

Grindr and other Dating Apps are Testing ways to add STD Notifications

Tinder Use on Phone
Tinder Use on Phone
1.5 million people dated on Tinder last week
1.5 million people dated on Tinder last week

STD rates worldwide continue skyrocketing to historically high levels — and many fingers are pointing directly at modern dating apps like Tinder Grindr and OKCupid. For some experts, the correlation between easy, no-strings-attached hookups and rising STDs is so clear that they’ve coined the phrase “Tinder Effect”.

These apps that facilitate casual, anonymous sex aren’t exactly falling over themselves to notify their users about the increased risk of STDs using their platforms. But in a bit of encouraging good news, Grindr and other primarily gay dating apps (demographics where the STD epidemic hits hardest) are testing out ways for STD-positive people to notify their partners using the app.

A form of notification messages concerning STD status is currently in the design and piloting phases — though there is presently no timeline for release. Right now, the app makers seem to be deciding on two different options: A section in the app that links out to existing anonymous notification services… or an in-app messaging system specifically for STDs.

Linking to existing infrastructure is something that’s much easier to put in place, so it looks like that will be the first thing the apps will roll out. “The decision made was, let’s go forth with this system right now, where we have a link to external website that can do that,” said Dan Wohlfeiler, director of the health consortium Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC). Since 2014, BHOC has brought hook-up app creators together with public health agencies and officials to promote HIV and STD prevention. BHOC participants include Grindr, Adam4Adam, Daddyhunt, and other apps, as well as the National Coalition of STD directors, the AIDS Foundation, and other organizations.

The way these systems would work is ingenius. As long as both users consent, the app would continue to maintain invisible contact with people through the app. People who might be too embarrassed to notify past users of an STD infection themselves, can instead trigger the app to send an anonymous request to all their past partners. “The app could send a notification to say: ‘It’s really important that you get tested for STDs, and here’s a link to a zip code based search engine to find the closest STD clinic near you'” said Dr. Heidi Bauer, the chief of STD control at the California Department of Health.

But this will be a challenging endeavour, especially to build as an industry standard between individual apps that work very differently. And the anonymous aspect of the notifications risks misuse and trolls. Dates or conversations gone wrong could lead to retaliatory false STD notifications. But BHOC will not be deterred by these obstacles and still works to develop a robust system to combat the spread of STDs within the gay community. “We’re trying to use some of the same technologies in communicating with people, and notifying folks with health alerts,” she said. “I think we can’t condemn technology by any stretch. We need to just understand it and better use it.”

Get Tested Regularly. Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs.

Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Herpes, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable, honest and ethical in the industry. Feel confident knowing that you can speak freely to our counselors about any situation or issue. You will never be judged by anyone at Private Testing Center. We will always make sure the right testing is being done at the right time. With Private Testing Center, you can feel confident knowing that your test results will not only be fast, but accurate as well.

Not just USA; STDs on the Rise in the UK, and their Sex Education isn’t Helping

Chlamydia
Syphilis
Gonorrhea

The USA is currently in the middle of a huge STD epidemic, with many STDs reaching infection levels never before seen in history.  But the U.S. is not the only ones.

A report last week by Public Health England shows that syphilis is at levels not seen in Great Britain since 1949.

Similar to the United States own epidemic, the report notes that the infection rates are highest in young people ages 15-24 and men who have sex with men. The report also sheds light on a worrying resurgence in gonorrhea, especially since a drug-resistant and possible incurable version of the disease has surfaced in the UK after a man caught it in Southeast Asia.

Public Health England ended their findings with a call for stronger local and natural prevention programs, along with more sexual health education in secondary schools. But how does the UK’s sexual health services compare to the U.S.?

Great Britain and much of Europe makes sex education mandatory in their schools, but the U.S. continues to struggle with this concept. Only 22 out of 50 states make sex education mandatory. And while the UK and Europe focuses mostly on safe sex practices and education, the U.S. aims mostly for abstinence-only education. According to one study, among 18-19 year olds, 41% knew little to nothing about condoms, and 45% said they knew nothing about contraception.

While abstinence is unquestionably the best way to prevent STD transmission (not to mention unplanned pregnancies), it does nothing for those young people who do want to be sexually promiscuous. And the U.S. is paying the price for this lack of education, with the highest rates of both sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies among all industrialized countries.

However, even with the UK’s much more stringent sex education program, they aren’t too far behind the U.S. with their STD infection rates. So what gives?

Some experts are pointing to other European leaders, like Holland, where sex education is more than just physical do’s and don’ts, and instead is presented as relationship education — of which sex is a component.

Others think that the curriculum being used is too outdated, and does not reflect the dangers faced by young people today. The current curriculum was drafted in 2000 and contains little to nothing about cyber-bullying, sexting, or LGBT issues.

The UK is currently in the middle of grappling how to deal with this crisis, and it remains to be seen whether they can clamp down on the worldwide epidemic of STDs.

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers.

3 Things you should know before getting an STD Test

Chlamydia
Syphilis
Gonorrhea

We’re really glad you’re checking up on this article, but we want to be crystal clear right off the bat. If you’re sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship (only seeing one person), then you need to get screened. Full stop. No exceptions. Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.

“The majority of STDs—be it gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes—tend to be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t cause symptoms,” explains Khalil Ghanem, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “So a majority of people who have these STDs don’t know they have them.”

1) Know the difference between “Testing” and “Screening”
Though the terms are used interchangeably, a screening is what happens when you’re not showing symptoms but want to get tested anyways. A screening usually checks for a large range of STDs and eliminates them all in one result, so you can have peace of mind about your sexual health. Testing is when you ARE showing some symptoms and you want to check for one or two particular diseases. There’s a difference between the two procedures. Private Testing Center has counselors that can help you determine what type of test to order. Our counselors are non-judgemental and super friendly and supportive, plus your conversation is strictly confidential. So don’t be afraid to go into detail about your sexual habits — any information you give us allow us to determine the best test for you. Call us today at 888.249.6716.

2) Private Testing Center’s testing methods aren’t painful or invasive. Urethra swabs? Miss me with that junk. All our testing is performed with either blood or urine. You get a little bit of blood drawn or you pee in a little cup and THAT’S IT. It’s never been easier, quicker or more convenient to get the answers you deserve.

3) You don’t have to do anything before the screening, and your results come back quickly. You may think you have to fast before your test, don’t drink, come first thing in the morning, or any number of other things that medical tests sometimes make you do. These are all incorrect. You live your normal day and show up whenever you like. The ONE exception is if you need a urine test, you just need to avoid peeing for about 2 hours before the test. That’s easy enough, right?

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs.

Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Herpes, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable, honest and ethical in the industry. Feel confident knowing that you can speak freely to our counselors about any situation or issue. You will never be judged by anyone at Private Testing Center. We will always make sure the right testing is being done at the right time. With Private Testing Center, you can feel confident knowing that your test results will not only be fast, but accurate as well.

We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers.

What Happens if you don’t get your STD Treated?

Chlamydia
The Herpes Simplex Virus
Liver scarring caused by Hepatitis B

Even though STD tramsmission rates are at an all-time high in the United States, most STDs have treatments and many have cures. But the problem is that for many people, they think things are fine as long as they’re not having symptoms that bother them. They don’t get tested or they just assume the problem will go away.

It won’t. And the consequences for not getting tested, and treating an STD are almost always bad. In many cases, they are dire.

Let’s look at some scary medical stuff that happens if you don’t cure some common STDs:

Gonorreah and Chlamydia

Both of these nasty Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are caused by bacteria that is spread by vaginal, anal and oral sex. The most common immediate symptom is an infection in your urinary tract which results in a painful, burning feeling when you pee. But that’s not a guaranteed symptom, some people become infected but have no symptoms at all.

If you leave these diseases untreated, then they can lead to more serious infections. In men, this can result in infections in your testes and sometimes even infertility. In women, the diseases can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection in the ovaries and it can lead to infertility. In both men and women, Gonorrhea can spread to your joints and cause damage and pain.

The ridiculous thing is, both these diseases are curable with simple antibiotics. There is NO REASON to run the risk. The CDC recommends that you get tested for both of these diseases annually.

Herpes

There are two types of Herpes viruses, but they both work the same. They’re spread by vaginal, anal and oral sex, as well as physical contact with a herpes sore. Herpes causes sores around your genitals that look like small pimples or blisters. Over the course of 2-4 weeks, they eventually crust over and scab, like small cut.

If left untreated, these outbreaks can continue to get worse. Besides that, herpes is extremely infectious and you’ll be continuing to propagate the STD epidemic by giving the virus to your partners.

Herpes has no cure, but there are medications to supress outbreaks and drastically lower the chance you’ll infect someone else. Don’t leave this to chance.

Hepatitis

Hepatitis B, C are different variants of a seriously damaging virus that attacks your liver. It’s been called a “silent epidemic” because people can be infected for 30 or more years and have no idea they have it. 80% of people with the disease have no symptoms. The people that do have symptoms often confuse them with something else because the symptoms are very general like fatigue, vomiting, stomach trouble, or dark-colored urine.

Hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver transplants, so that should tell you everything you need to know about what happens if you don’t get this disease treated. Once the virus has been allowed to attack your liver for many years, the damage becomes irreversible.

There are treatments available and each year brings new breakthroughs in their efficiency and minimizing their side effects. But the only way to get these treatments and get the answers about your sexual health is to get tested.

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Gonorrhea, HIV and other STDs.

Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Gonorrhea, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers.

Online Dating Tips to Avoid STDs

Chlamydia
Syphilis
Gonorrhea

Online Dating has been around pretty much as long as the internet itself. But only in the last few years has the ease and efficiency of meeting someone online been improved by leaps and bounds. Apps like Tinder and Grindr match you with thousands of people in your city. Tens of millions of people meet through these apps every year, and many of those “hook up”.

But there’s a dark side to meeting someone new and interesting as often as you like. It’s never been easier to become infected with one or more STDs. And the statistics show that very few people talk about the risk of STDs before becoming intimate.

This is a big reason the United States has the highest rate of STDs in comparison to other countries, and why 62% of new infections are under the age of 25.

But how can you know for sure that a match has an STD or not? Are all online dating apps “bad”? Can you still protect yourself even if you have lots of sex? Yes you can. We’ve put together three simple tips that you can use when meeting someone.

Tip #1: Use a Condom. Yep, you’ve heard it a million times before. But you’ve heard it because it works. Proper condom use should protect you from Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis, and HIV. And it lowers the chance you catch the others, sometimes by up to 70%.

If you’re serious about protection, you need to wear a condom during every sex act, even oral sex. You may have heard oral sex is the safest kind of sex — but you can still get gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, and herpes from unprotected oral sex.

Tip #2: Ask your partner first. We get it, it’s kindof an awkward conversation to have. Your partner might even get offended that you don’t trust them. But think about it — if dinner doesn’t go well and you decline to have sex with them later, they have to respect your wishes, right? So shouldn’t you demand the same respect when it comes to your sexual health?

Just a simple text: “Are you clean?” is all it takes. And if something seems off, don’t be afraid to ask for their results on paper. Of course, you should never ask your partner about their sexual health if you haven’t been tested or aren’t ready to be honest yourself. They deserve clear answers just as much as you do.

Tip #3: Avoid sketchy people. This one’s tricky to list as bullet points. But you know that gut feeling, that natural intuition? Trust that. If something isn’t adding up on your date — if your partner doesn’t seem entirely honest or trustworthy, or if the vibe doesn’t feel quite right — don’t take things to the next level. If your match is a sketchy person, that means they’ve probably slept with OTHER sketchy people. Imagine 50 other seedy partners giving you a taste of whatever they have.

We get it, in the heat of the monent it can be difficult to back out of sexual pleasure. But when the cloud of passion has faded, you’re going to be thanking yourself.

If you want a 100% solution, there’s only one: Don’t have sex. However, with proper condom use, open and honest communication, and a smart choice of partners, you can DRAMATICALLY reduce your risk of STD infection.

And never forget to GET TESTED REGULARLY! Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs. Same Day appointments are available and with over 1500 locations nationwide, your closest location is only a short drive away. We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers. Call 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test today.

One App may Eliminate the Dreaded ‘STD’ Dating Question

Tinder Use on Phone
Tinder Use on Phone
1.5 million people dated on Tinder last week
1.5 million people dated on Tinder last week

With the explosion of Tinder, E-Harmony, OKCupid and other online dating apps, it’s easier than ever to find love in your city. Thanks to Tinder alone, 1.5 million people dated last week. But with the ease and frequency of modern dating and the casual, anonymous sex that comes with it, there’s not always time for conversations about important topics, like STDs.

“It goes like this: ‘Ummmm, do you have any STDS?'” says Oksana Wright, co-founder of the Social Health Registry app. “Many people don’t even bring up the question because of how awkward it actually is.”

This so-called “Tinder Effect” is part of the reason that Syphilis, Gonorrhea, and HIV have rocketed to all-time highs in the United States. But Wright is developing an app that she hopes will be a game-changer for this epidemic.

The Social Health Registry (SHR) app allows a user to register and then upload their current medical status. This confidential information would not be shared with anyone else, however the app would calculate and award a “badge” to the user, based on how many days since their last STD test and whether they are clean or not.

Right now, the app is in early stages of development. Wright wants to partner with STD Testing Laboratories so they can upload test results to the app without the user having to be bothered to self-report. She also wants to integrate the database into online dating apps, so when you match with someone it also displays their SHR badge in their profile.

This system should allow both dating individuals to skip the awkward “do you have STDs?” question, and judge for themselves whether that person’s sexual history changes whether they would go on a date or hook up.

Getting Tested for STDs has never been easier or more affordable. Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs. Same Day appointments are available and with over 1500 locations nationwide, your closest location is only a short drive away. We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers. Call 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test today.

3 Common STDs in Danger of Becoming Incurable

Chlamydia
Syphilis
Gonorrhea

It’s almost like something out of a sci-fi movie. Superbugs? Unbeatable Bacteria? Incurable STDs? Unfortunately, we have come dangerously close to this reality.

It’s happening all over medicine and it’s a simple product of evolution, helped along by decades of antibiotics overuse. The last time you had to take some antibiotics, you may have heard your doctor warn you to take the WHOLE bottle, even if you get better before it’s empty. Why is that? Because if you don’t, there’s a chance that some of the viruses or bacteria will survive the assault. Not enough of them to make you sick again, but enough to figure out how to protect themselves from that antibiotic. With enough survivors, and through random changes in their genetic code, the organisms can even become IMMUNE to that type of antibiotic. This phenomenon is called “RESISTANCE”.

There are three common STDs that are in the final stages of resistance: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. All three diseases are very curable right now, but one day they might not be.

Gonorrhea used to be curable with basically any type of antibiotic, including penecillin. However, over time, it has developed immunity to 6 different classes of antibiotics. It can only be killed now with a single type. And we’re now starting to see it becoming tougher against that last remaining option. If there is ever a strain that becomes immune, we will have a “Superbug”, an incurable disease. With 820,000 new gonorrhea infections each year in the U.S., it’s a pretty scary prospect.

The same thing is happening to chlamydia and syphilis, though thankfully they are not as far down the resistance pathway as gonorrhea.

So what can be done to help prevent this? There are two main things. First, you can follow your doctors instructions exactly, and take the FULL DOSE of your antibiotics. This will completely wipe out the infection and there will be no survivors to become resistant to the treatments. Second (and more importantly) you can do your part to stop the STD epidemic that is ravaging the United States by GETTING TESTED REGULARLY.

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Gonorrhea, HIV and other STDs.

Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Gonorrhea, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers.

Syphilis: Once Almost Exterminated, now a Nationwide Crisis

Syphilis Sores
Syphilis Sores
Syphilis

Syphilis, or “the great pox” is an ancient disease that’s been ravaging humanity since medieval times. Up until the 1900’s, there was no effective treatment for it. However, with the advent of penecillin, the disease was swiftly contained and is now only a footnote in medical history books.

At least, that’s what aspiring medical students in the 80’s and 90’s were told. With just 6000 cases of syphilis reported in 2000, the CDC thought that the disease’s total extinction was within our reach. Even as recent as 10 years ago, most medical experts considered Syphilis to be “on the ropes” as a disease.

But instead, this very curable sexually transmitted disease has come roaring back into the spotlight. Between 2014 and 2015, rates of syphilis increased by over 17%. Today, new Syphilis infections are at the highest levels they’ve been in over 20 years, with 23,872 new cases reported. The rates have increased in every region, a majority of age groups, and almost every ethnicity. And in the United States we’ve seen a rise in congenital syphilis — something even developing countries have been able to eliminate.

What is the reason for this meteoric rise? And why have we been unsuccessful at completely eradicating this disease, even though we’ve been able to cure it for over 100 years?

Public Health Budget Cuts

One frequently cited reason is sub-par funding for public health budgets. The CDC has had more than a billion dollars cut out of its budget since 2005. And since 2008, more than 44,000 jobs have been cut from local health departments. “This is a failure of the healthcare system” said Gail Bolan, CDC director of STD Prevention. “Our public health infrastructure is at the point of breaking” said Bill Smith, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.

Social Media & Dating Apps

Health experts think that social media is playing a strong role in the spread of STDs of all kinds, including syphilis. Apps like Tinder and Grindr make it very easy to have anonymous sexual encounters, or only know the person through a profile photo and a short description. So when someone using these apps tests positive for an STD, it becomes very difficult to track down their previous partners and let them know they are at risk.

Highly Contagious with Subtle Symptoms

Syphilis is transmissable through almost every sexual means, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. But it also presents with a unique and unpredictable set of symptoms, or even no noticeable symptoms at all. This one-two punch makes it both highly contagious and hard to diagnose without an STD Test.

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with pus-filled sores. Within the first few weeks after being infected, sores will usually appear in the location they are infected. So they could be in your mouth, your genitals, or your anus. There might be only one sore, or a few. The sores are painless, so if you don’t notice them, you won’t know they are even there. If a partner rubs against these sores, they are at a high risk for infection of syphilis themselves. The sores will heal after a month or so. This is the first stage of syphilis.

A few weeks after healing, the second stage begins. A rash appears, usually starting on your torso, but it can expand to cover your whole body. The rash doesn’t usually itch, but it can produce sores in your mouth or genitals. Some people also experience other symptoms like fever, sore throat, or ache-y muscles, but not everyone does. The second stage goes away after a few weeks, or can continue sporadically for up to a year.

If not treated by this point, Syphilis begins to earn its ominous reputation. It actually seems to go away on its own. Sometimes nothing further happens for years. But in 15-30 percent of people, the third and final stage of syphilis comes back full force. Tertiary syphilis damages your brain, heart, bones, eyes, nerves, joints and blood vessels. Visual impairments, hearing loss, stroke, and even death are all common results. In pregnant women, it can cause stillbirths, and significant health problems in babies that survive.

How can I tell if I have Syphilis?

Because Syphilis has so many different symptoms, the only way to know for sure is to get an STD test. Private Testing Center offers fast, affordable and accurate STD testing at one of our 1200 locations across the nation.

If you do test positive for Syphilis, don’t worry! There is a simple cure.

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs. Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Herpes, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable, honest and ethical in the industry. Feel confident knowing that you can speak freely to our counselors about any situation or issue. You will never be judged by anyone at Private Testing Center. We will always make sure the right testing is being done at the right time. With Private Testing Center, you can feel confident knowing that your test results will not only be fast, but accurate as well.

STD rates continue to rise in 2017

Chlamydia
Syphilis
Gonorrhea

The highest ever number of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases were recorded last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to their data, there were 2 million overall infections.

  • The overwhelming amount of these (1.6 million) were chlamydia, and 800,000 of those were in young women.
  • Spyhilis rates grew 18% overall, with a 36% increase in women becoming infected and a 28% increase in babies born with syphilis. Many of the babies die shortly after birth or have a range of problems like enlarged liver, nervous system defects, blindness or deafness, seizures or developmental delays.
  • Gonorrhea also experienced a 22% increase for men. Gonorrhea is especially concerning to experts because it’s becoming resistant to the only two antibiotics used to treat it. Unless something changes or a new method is found for treatment, gonorrhea could soon be the latest STD to become incurable.

These are shockingly high statistics. The United States has the highest STD rates of any Western industrialized country in the world. The infection rates are increasing across the board, with all populations and demographics. But sadly, there are disporportionaly impacted communities. Southern States have taken the brunt of the rate explosion. Young People between the ages of 15-24 are the biggest newly infected demographic. Men who have sex with men have the highest risk to contract syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV.

Experts are struggling to explain these skyrocketing statistics, and come up with a plan to stop them. They’ve laid out the three biggest causes, and their solutions.

  1. Cuts to Public Health Funding.  Public health in the U.S. is historically underfunded. There are 50,000 fewer health jobs since 2008, and many government-run STD clinics have reduced their hours or shut down. Private Testing Center strives to reverse this trend with STD education campaigns and over 1200 affordable, convenient, and painless STD testing facilities nationwide.
  2. Lack of Fear.  Public Schools in the 90’s bombarded students with a hard-hitting HIV/AIDs prevention campaign. “Silence = Death” was the tagline. There were photos of funerals and people mourning. If you don’t use a condom, you were basically signing your own death warrant from AIDs. But nowadays, HIV is manageable via medication, and many other STDs are cureable with antibiotics. “It’s harder to put the fear of God in young people now that drugs can allow you to have unprotected sex and not pass on HIV, or if you do get it just take a pill every day and live a mostly normal life.” Says Josh Bloom of the American Council on Science and Health. But even though it might seem like it, STDs are not to be trifled with. Undiagnosed, many can cause serious health issues or even death. You need to be tested regularly and have honest conversations with your partners.
  3. The Rise of Dating Apps and Anonymous Hookups.  Dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have made sex more readily available then at any other time in human history. As one young man explained it, “You could talk to two or three girls at a bar, or you can swipe a couple hundred girls a day on Tinder. If you set up two or three Tinder dates a week and sleep with most of them, that’s 100 girls you can sleep with in a year!” But having sex with more people increases the chance of infection to an STD. And worse still, if you do become infected, it’s nearly impossible to track down all your past partners from the app and warn them to get tested. To help combat the risks associated with online dating, talk to your partners about their sexual health history before you become intimate, and use protection every time you have sex.

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs.Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Herpes, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable, honest and ethical in the industry. Feel confident knowing that you can speak freely to our counselors about any situation or issue. You will never be judged by anyone at Private Testing Center. We will always make sure the right testing is being done at the right time. With Private Testing Center, you can feel confident knowing that your test results will not only be fast, but accurate as well.

Is Tinder helping spread STDs?

50 Million People use Tinder Every Day
1.5 Million People went on Tinder Dates Last Week
  • 50 million people use Tinder every month

  • There are 1 billion swipes every day

  • 12 million matches are made each day

  • 1.5 million people went on Tinder dates last week

STD infection rates are skyrocketing nationwide. Each year, new all time highs are reached for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, HIV and other diseases. And tragically, the impact is felt most by young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Experts are struggling with how to interpret these numbers. Some are suggesting that budget cuts are to blame. Others think we’re simply finding more cases that would otherwise have gone undiagnosed.

But there are a growing number of studies that confirm a third reason: The rise of of Anonymous Dating Apps like Tinder, Grindr, and OKCupid. Some experts have coined the phrase “Tinder Effect”.

1.5 million people dated last week thanks to Tinder. These apps make connecting with people faster and more efficient than ever before. As one young man described it, “You could talk to two or three girls at a bar and pick the best one, or you can swipe a couple hundred people a day. You set up two or three Tinder dates a week, and if you sleep with most of them, you could rack up 100 girls you’ve slept with in a year!”

But the problem with casual, anonymous sex via these apps strikes on two fronts:

  1. Having sex with more people means you’re more likely to become infected with an STD.

  2. If you find out you’re infected, it’s very hard to track down the people you have met through the app and let them know to get tested.

Tinder itself vehemently denies that it helps spread STDs, even going as far as ordering the takedown of billboards and bus ads warning Tinder users to get tested for STDs. They’ve also taken some steps to make it easier to get tested, such as adding an STD Testing Location Tracker to their app. But they’ve shown reluctance to do more than this.

“Dating Apps don’t want to be associated with STDs. And no one has any authority to require or mandate that these sites mitigate the consequences of their businesses” said Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine and STD researcher at UCLA.

So when it comes to Dating Apps, the burden falls on you to protect yourself from becoming infected, or infecting others. Here’s some quick tips on how to do that:

  1. Use protection every time you have sex. Although a condom won’t protect you from every disease, it’s the first line of defense, and it’s been proven to cut infection rates dramatically. Even if you use another method to prevent pregnancy, like birth control or an IUD, you should still use a condom to protect yourself against the risk of infection from an STD.
  2. Talk to your partners to minimize risk. The most important aspect of any sexual encounter is communication. If you both care about each other’s sexual health, you won’t have a problem gently breaching this topic.
  3. Get Tested Regularly. Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs.Our primary goal is to to educate people about the risks associated with unprotected sexual activity and also the importance routine screenings play in prevention and treatment of Herpes, HIV and STDs.

All of our testing is performed through the blood and urine. No pelvic exams, painful swabs or embarrassing visual exams are necessary, as blood and urine testing is the most accurate.

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable, honest and ethical in the industry. Feel confident knowing that you can speak freely to our counselors about any situation or issue. You will never be judged by anyone at Private Testing Center. We will always make sure the right testing is being done at the right time. With Private Testing Center, you can feel confident knowing that your test results will not only be fast, but accurate as well.

How Accurate is a Herpes Urine Test?

The Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes HSV Lesions
Antibodies Attacking a Virus
Antibodies Attacking a Virus

Fresh from the mailbag, we have a question about a Herpes Urine Test. How accurate is it? Our answer: Not accurate enough. Read on for our reasons.

Genital Herpes is a common Sexually Transmitted Disease that is easily given to others and, sadly, doesn’t yet have a cure. You get herpes by having vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who already has it. One reason the disease spreads so easily is you don’t have to have outward symptoms to spread the disease, so there’s a great many people who are infected and don’t even know it.

As many as 4-5 times a year, the virus attacks below the surface of your skin, creating LESIONS or SORES. These sores are difficult to attribute to Herpes alone, they also look very close to insect bites, ingrown hairs or a rash. Some people don’t even have sores – yet they can still be infected.

Your body beats the virus back from its attack, but it’s never able to kill it completely. Instead, the virus retreats to a cluster of nerves at the base of your spine and gathers its strength again before launching another attack. This is why Herpes has no cure, because any medication strong enough to kill the virus would also damage the nerves at the base of your spine!

Testing for Herpes is a complicated test, especially when you have no other symptoms. However, Private Testing Center favors blood tests for Herpes, with an accuracy rate of 99%. Urine tests for Herpes do exist, but it’s much harder to get an accurate result. You don’t want to leave your sexual health to chance… one of the worst things that can happen is being told you don’t have Herpes when you do, and you continue to inadvertently infect your partners!

Private Testing Center offers affordable and convenient testing, in a constant effort to prevent the spread of Herpes, HIV and other STDs. Same Day appointments are available and with over 1500 locations nationwide, your closest location is only a short drive away. We understand your privacy is of the utmost importance and we assure confidentiality for every one of our customers. Call 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test today.

How Accurate is a Herpes Blood Test After 6 weeks?

The Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes HSV Lesions
Antibodies Attacking a Virus
Antibodies Attacking a Virus

People ask us lots of questions about STDs, and we’re always happy to provide answers about this sensitive topic. One thing we’ve been asked is “How Accurate is a Herpes Blood Test After 6 weeks?” The answer is “CONCLUSIVELY ACCURATE”, as long as you get the right test!

Genital Herpes is a nasty virus that comes in two different types, HSV-1 and HSV-2. They both have the same plan of attack: As many as 4-5 times each year, they attack healthy cells on your skin, hacking into them and forcing them to create clones of the Herpes virus — tens of thousands of them. The cells are forced to work so hard that they eventually die, and when enough of them die, it leads to sores or lesions on the surface of your skin.

These sores are hard to identify as herpes just by looking at them. They’re often mistaken for pimples, bug bites, or a rash. Anyone else that touches these lesions has a chance of contracting Herpes. Since they often appear on your thighs or buttocks, simply using a condom won’t eliminate the risk. You don’t even have to have visible symptoms to transmit Herpes to someone else.

The only way to know for sure that you have Herpes is to GET TESTED!

Private Testing Center is the most convenient and affordable provider of same-day Herpes and STD Testing. We can do two types of Herpes tests, and it’s very important that you pick the right one.

IgG Test – This test is accurate AFTER 3 weeks, and conclusive after 6 weeks and beyond.

We draw a small sample of your blood for this test, and check for the presence of ANTIBODIES. Antibodies are special soldiers that your body manufactures to fight a virus or a sickness. There’s a different type of antibody for every sickness you might get in your life, everything from Chicken Pox to the Flu. If the blood test reveals the presence of Herpes antibodies, it means your body is fighting the Herpes virus and you are infected. If we don’t see Herpes antibodies, it means you don’t have Herpes.

IgM Test – This test is accurate between 10 days and 4 weeks.

This is a special “early warning” test you can get to detect Herpes as soon as possible. We draw a small amount of your blood for this test and check it for a certain type of antibody. This antibody is the “front line soldier” and holds back an infection while your body focuses on crafting the more specialized antibodies that come later. This front line soldier retreats after 4 weeks, as the main antibody army is finished. So this test WILL NOT WORK if it’s been over a month since your contact of concern.

Not sure which test to get? We have knowledgeable and compassionate counselors that can help you, no judging. Don’t leave your health to chance! Call 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test today.

STD Check at Home

There’s a lot of searches out there — and a few services — for STD Checks and Testing Kits that you can do at home. Sounds like a great idea, right? What’s more private and more convenient then your own house!

Private Testing Center does not offer in-home testing kits for STDs, and we have a really good reason. Give us a few moments to show why our testing can be just as convenient and private, but avoids the pitfalls of in-home testing.

STDs are not something you want to leave to Chance

There are terms called “False Positive” and “False Negative“. That means your test comes back showing you have an STD but you actually don’t — or shows that you don’t, but you actually are infected. Both of these situations are very bad.

With an in-home testing kit, if you don’t follow the directions exactly, you will contaminate the sample and increase your chances of a False Positive or a False Negative.

With Private Testing Center, we have a network of 1500+ labs nationwide. Each and every test is administered by a medical professional, meaning it will always be done properly, in a sterilized environment, for the MOST ACCURATE RESULT.

Some In-Home Test Kits are Scams

Beware of “Instant” STD Test Kits. These are sold illegally, without the approval of the FDA or the U.S. Government. They have very poor levels of accuracy.

Lab Testing has Much Faster Results

Since your test is conducted in the lab itself, your results are available in 1-3 business days. With many of these kits, it can take weeks or even months to get your results back.

Lab Testing is very Convenient & Private

Private Testing Center offers same-day appointments, with as little as 15 minutes before your appointment is on the books. In addition, the average lab visit takes less than 30 minutes. Finally, we keep your information strictly confidential. All these things make our tests just as comparable to your home.

Our Network of Counselors & Professionals

Our counselors are the most knowledgeable and ethical in the industry. We will listen to your story without any judgement, and advise you on the best test to take. We can give you easy tips so that you’ll get the fastest, most accurate result.

None of this is available with in-home testing, you are on your own. We want to help you. Call 888.248.9002, or Schedule Your Test Online.

Do STD Tests show up on your Medical Record?

Do STD Tests show up on your Medical Record?

This is a great question, and the answer for all our tests is a firm “NO“. Private Testing Center puts a huge emphasis on protecting your privacy. Here’s some of the ways we ensure your testing is discreet:

All Our STD Tests are Confidential

The only personal information we collect from you is your name and date-of-birth. This is only so that we can ensure we match you to the correct appointment slot in the lab. We DO NOT require your address, social security or any other information.

Our Tests do not appear on your Medical Record

All of PTC’s STD Tests do not appear on your Medical Record. While this is our policy, some other STD Testing Providers do not share this policy! If privacy is a concern, please verify that whomever you choose, your test will not appear on your medical record.

It is for this reason that we do not accept insurance. If we submit your claim to the insurance companies, they will become aware you took the test and it will appear on your record, and sometimes insurance companies will raise your rates if you take certain tests or take what they deem “too many”.

We offer Several Options for Discreet Payment

If you pay with a credit or debit card, a charge will appear on your statement from “Private Testing Center, Inc.” However, for a more discreet option, we also accept payments from pre-paid gift cards. This is an option often used by our customers.

These cards are untraceable and are sold at all major retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Target and others. Sometimes the cards only come in increments of $25, $50, $100 etc., so purchasing more than one might be necessary. In many cases though, you can load a custom amount onto the card.

We are unable to accept cash as payment.

We Provide your Results Discreetly

Our preferred method for telling your results is verbally, over the phone. We can call you as soon as the results are ready, or if you’d prefer not to give us your phone number, you can call us at 888.248.9002. Another option is we can email, or mail, your results.

All these policies are built with your privacy and protection in mind. Private Testing Center will collect as little personal information as possible, and we’ll always keep this info confidential and discreet. Call us at 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test Online.

Can Dormant Herpes be Detected?

The Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes HSV Lesions
Antibodies Attacking a Virus
Antibodies Attacking a Virus

One common question we get asked is “Can Dormant Herpes Be Detected?” The answer is YES IT CAN, as long as you get the right test!

Genital herpes is a virus that comes in two types, but both types act the same. As many as 4-5 times a year, the virus attacks your skin and causes an “outbreak” of sores, blisters or small pimples.

These take 2-4 weeks to fully heal. If someone else touches the sores, they can also become infected with Herpes. Even though you can see something is wrong with your body, these sores are often mistaken for other skin conditions like insect bites or a rash.

Eventually your body beats back the attack, but then the Herpes virus pulls a trick. It retreats back to the base of your spine, where it slowly builds up strength again, but also causes no trouble. This is called the “Dormant” phase.

During the “Dormant” phase, you have absolutely no symptoms, so it may seem tough to test whether you are infected. But here at Private Testing Center, we have a super accurate test that does just that.

You see, even though there’s no outward sign that you have Herpes, your body still knows it’s infected. It constantly battles it with special ANTIBODIES. These are tiny assassins that ONLY kill the Herpes virus.

With just one 15 minute visit, Private Testing Center will draw a tiny amount of your blood, and check to see if any of these antibodies show up. If you aren’t infected with Herpes, you won’t have any Herpes antibodies in your blood. If you ARE infected, it doesn’t matter if the Herpes is Dormant or Active, we will see the antibodies. You can take the test 3 weeks after your last contact of concern, and it’s super accurate.

Sadly, there is no cure for Herpes, as any medicine strong enough to kill the virus would also damage the nerves at the base of your spine. However, with a proper diagnosis and the right medicine, you can shorten or even prevent outbreaks, and also not pass it onto other people you care about. That’s worth getting tested for.

Don’t leave your health to chance! Private Testing Center offers affordable, same-day testing for all major STDs, including Herpes, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrea and more. We keep all your info strictly confidential, and we’re here for counseling and advice if you need it. Call 888.248.9002 or Schedule Your Test today.

Sex and HIV: Is It Ever Safe?

A romantic relationship can be drastically affected if one person is diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. While there’s much more to most couples’ relationships than sex, it’s still an important part of being together. And by putting HIV prevention measures in place, it’s possible to stay well and maintain a sex life.

Finding safe methods of sexual intimacy is an important step for you and your partner after an HIV diagnosis, as is determining whether you want to try to have children.

Can Sex Be Safe With HIV?

It’s natural for couples to be afraid of having sex after an HIV diagnosis. But understanding the risks involved with certain kinds of sexual activity, and knowing about methods of HIV prevention, can help alleviate these fears.

When a person infected with HIV or AIDS has sexual intercourse of any kind, there is a risk of infecting the healthy partner — whether or not you use condoms. Couples need to be aware of which sexual activities put them at risk, and what they can do to minimize that risk.

“HIV can be transmitted through vaginal sex, anal sex, and it’s likely that it’s transmitted through oral sex as well. So all of these would carry a risk of transmitting HIV to the HIV infected person’s partner,” says Jennifer A. Shuford, MD, MPH, director of applied science at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Tex.

Couples can reduce (but not completely eliminate) the risk of transmitting HIV to the healthy individual through proper, consistent condom use.

“When you use condoms for vaginal intercourse, it reduces the risk of transmission of HIV by 85 to 90 percent,” says Dr. Shuford. However, “the risk is still there even when a condom is used correctly and consistently.”

What Are the Chances of Getting HIV?

For each act of intercourse, the odds are actually only around 1 in 1,000 that the healthy partner will contract HIV, according to Shuford. However, when you add that up over weeks, months, and years, a person in a relationship with an HIV-infected partner is at much higher risk. “The risk is additive over time and it’s important that people realize that condom use needs to occur every time,” Shuford adds.

The exact level of risk of the uninfected partner contracting HIV depends on several factors, including how well the infected partner’s HIV is being managed. Shuford notes that people who aren’t taking medication for their HIV will have higher concentrations of the virus in their bodily fluids, making it more probable that they could pass it on to a sexual partner.

People who are managing their HIV with medication will usually have less of the virus in their blood and bodily fluids, which decreases the risk that they will transmit it to a partner. However, being on HIV medication does not eliminate the risk of transmission, so condoms must still be used.

There are no documented cases of HIV having been contracted through saliva, so couples are generally given the OK to kiss as much as they want. However, there is a theoretical risk of transmitting the virus through deep kissing if the infected partner has open mouth sores or blood in his saliva (perhaps from severe gum disease) and the uninfected partner also has sores or cuts in or around the mouth.

Sexual partners can also engage in other acts of intimacy in which bodily fluids are not exchanged, or where bodily fluids don’t come into contact with the mucous membranes that line the mouth, anus, and vagina.

Having Children With an HIV-Infected Partner

There are also options for couples affected by HIV who want to have children. Some to consider are:

  • In-vitro fertilization
  • Artificial insemination
  • Adoption
  • Using a sperm donor
  • Using a surrogate mother
  • Limited unprotected intercourse (during ovulation only) — but this carries a risk of HIV transmission

For methods like in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, the sperm can be cleaned to remove as much of the virus as possible, but there is still a risk of transmitting the disease. Unfortunately, these methods are often quite expensive, and people who are already paying for HIV treatment may not be able to afford them.

While it’s highly unlikely that a healthcare professional would ever recommend having unprotected sex with an HIV-infected partner in order to have children, Shuford says that many couples do just that.

Couples who want to attempt to conceive naturally should talk to their doctor about the best time to have sexual intercourse, Shuford says. To minimize risk and increase the chance that they’ll become pregnant, it’s important for women who are trying to conceive to know when they’re fertile, have unprotected sex only during that fertile period, and limit the number of times they have unprotected sex.

If a woman who is infected with HIV gets pregnant, transmission of HIV from the mother to the baby is “another risk that has to be managed by the patient and physician,” says Shuford. The mother should manage her HIV with medication to reduce the amount of virus in her blood, and the baby can be treated immediately at delivery to reduce the risk of transmission.

Rather than avoiding intimacy, couples dealing with HIV should be aware of the risk of transmission, what activities involve risk, and what they can do to reduce it. Hugging, most kissing, and touching are all safe activities — and will be a great comfort to the person with HIV.

By: Diana Rodriguez

Medically Reviewed by: Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

How is Hepatitis C Transmitted?

Sanjay Gupta, MD, Everyday Health: It’s basically a simplistic question, but what does blood-to-blood transmission mean? You have blood in a syringe, for example. How long has it been sitting there, and how long can it still transmit the virus?

Douglas Dieterich, MD, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: It’s probably 7 to 10 days.

Dr. Gupta: So if blood is sitting in a syringe for 7 to 10 days and then it is used again, it can still transmit?

Dr. Dieterich: Yeah, it’s scary.

Dr. Gupta: It’s remarkable.

Dr. Dieterich: Yeah, it is. It’s a smart virus.

Dr. Gupta: Cocaine straws — and admittedly I have never done that — but how would cocaine straws, that doesn’t sound like a blood-to-blood transmission.

Dr. Dieterich: Well, it’s a sharp straw you know. You get a little nick, a little blood. Even other things that you don’t even think about, like manicures, pedicures, boxing, rugby — a lot of people get cuts, they are in the scrum — so things like that are all risks that you don’t even think about.

Dr. Gupta: That’s going to scare a lot of people. When you talk about manicures, for example. Is there a way that can be done properly, or what’s happening?

Dr. Dieterich: You know, it’s hard to sterilize those instruments, so I think to be perfectly safe you should just bring your own manicure instruments. You have seen people get their cuticles nicked, right, when they have a manicure, and then they dip the scissors in the blue viral culture medium there and shake it off? Then it’s not sterile, you know, by any means.

Dr. Gupta: That doesn’t do the trick.

Dr. Dieterich: That doesn’t really do the trick, no.

Dr. Gupta: Today, the blood supply is safe, but anyone who was given blood from a blood bank before 1992 is also at risk of hepatitis C. Bottom line: sharing needles is not the only way to transmit this virus, so even if you never used illegal drugs, it may still be a good idea to get tested. With Everyday Health, I’m Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Be well.

 

By: Dr. Sanjay Gupta

 

9 Ways HIV Is Not Spread.

The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, has existed in the United States since at least the 1970s, but myths and misconceptions about how it’s transmitted still persist.

Most people know that the virus is commonly spread through sexual contact and intravenous drug use. But what other behaviors are — and are not — risk factors?

HIV: How It’s Transmitted

HIV is spread through certain body fluids, such as blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services AIDS.gov website. The virus can be transmitted when these fluids in an infected person come into contact with mucous membranes in the rectum, vagina, penis, or mouth of another person.

While HIV can be spread during anal or vaginal sex, anal sex is riskier because there is more trauma and irritation to the mucous membranes, says Beverly Sha, MD, professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Although the risk is low, HIV can also be spread through oral sex. HIV transmission can happen during ejaculation into the mouth, or if there are mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, genital sores, or other sexually transmitted diseases present, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using condoms during sex lowers the risk of HIV transmission. “When they are used properly, it’s clear they offer significant protection,” Dr. Sha says. However, condoms can fail when they break, if they’re too old, or if they are not used correctly.

The virus can also spread if infected fluids come into contact with damaged tissue, such as a cut in the skin, or if infected blood is transferred from a needle or syringe. Doing injection drugs with someone who is infected and sharing equipment is high risk. HIV can be found in a used needle for as long as 42 days.

Pregnancy is another risk factor to be aware of. While HIV can be spread from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, treatment lowers the chances to less than 1 percent, according to AVERT, a nonprofit dedicated to HIV and AIDS education.

HIV: How It’s Not Transmitted

The following are nine ways the virus is not spread:

Kissing and touching. Social kissing and hugging pose no risk of transmission, Sha says. Also, being sexual with someone without exchanging infected body fluids does not spread the virus. The only time deep kissing is a risk is when the person infected with HIV has open sores or oral bleeding, Sha notes.

Sharing a living space. Any casual contact with someone who has HIV, including sharing a bathroom, is safe. However, Sha tells patients not to share razor blades or toothbrushes. If someone who is infected nicks himself while shaving or has bleeding gums, it could increase risk of transmission.

Sharing food or utensils. The virus cannot survive on surfaces, so sharing utensils and other household items will not spread HIV. You can even share a meal with someone who is infected without worry. Transmission has been associated with mothers pre-chewing food for their babies, when infected blood from the mouth mixes with the food. Known as pre-mastication, it is a common practice in Africa, but not typically done in the United States, Sha says.

Saliva, sweat, or tears. An infected person’s saliva, sweat, and tears do not put you at risk.

Helping an injured person with HIV. Wearing gloves while doing so is ideal; but even if the person’s blood comes into contact with your intact skin, you should not worry. “We don’t consider blood exposure to intact skin to be a risk,” Sha says. There needs to be a cut or abrasion to allow the virus to get past the skin layer.

Water fountains. Sipping from a water fountain after someone who has HIV used it is considered casual contact and will not lead to transmission.

Mosquitoes and other insects. The virus is not viable in insects or ticks, Sha says.

Toilet seats. HIV cannot survive on surfaces, so this is not a concern.

Modern blood transfusions. Donated blood is screened and disposed of if it tests positive for HIV. Advanced technology has made screening increasingly sensitive at identifying the virus, Sha says.

 

What are Genital Warts?

Genital warts develop as a symptom of infection with the human papillomavirus.

Genital warts, known medically as condyloma acuminata, are soft, moist bumps that are generally pink or flesh-toned.

They may also be raised, flat, or shaped like a cauliflower (if they grow in clusters).

These blemishes, which are sometimes also called anogenital warts, may appear throughout the genital and anal areas.

In women, genital warts can grow inside or outside the vagina and anus, on surrounding areas, and on the cervix inside the body.

In men, they may also appear inside or outside the anus, as well as on the penis or scrotum, inside the urethra, or on surrounding areas.

In both men and women, condyloma acuminata can also develop in the mouth and throat, and on the tongue and lips.

Causes of Genital Warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The human papillomavirus isn’t a single virus, but rather a group of more than 150 related viruses. Each of these has a designated number, or HPV type.

About 90 percent of genital warts are caused by HPV 6 and HPV 11.

Other HPV types can cause warts on other parts of the body.

You can get genital warts if you have sex with someone who has HPV, even if they don’t have any visible warts or other apparent symptoms of the infection.

Although genital warts inside the anus predominately affect people who have had receptive anal intercourse, they can also occur in men and women who have no history of anal sexual contact.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

In the United States, an estimated 500,000 to one million new cases of condyloma acuminata are diagnosed each year, according to a 2012 review in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

But other estimates point to a lower incidence of genital warts — about 360,000 cases each year, according to the CDC.

The prevalence of genital warts among boys and men ages 15 to 39 in the United States increased significantly between 2003 and 2009, but remained stable in 2010, according to a 2013 report in the American Journal of Public Health.

The prevalence of genital warts among women of different age groups has seen various increases and decreases over the years.

But overall, it has decreased in girls and women ages 15 to 24, likely due to the HPV vaccine, the study notes.

You have an increased risk of developing and spreading genital warts if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are stressed and have another viral infection, such as herpes
  • Have a weakened immune system from medications or other health conditions, including diabetes and HIV/AIDs
  • Use tobacco or drink alcohol
  • Are sexually active at an early age, or have unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • Have another sexually transmitted disease

HPV and Cancer

Over many years — sometimes decades — a persistent HPV infection can cause cancer.

In fact, HPV causes almost all cases of cervical cancer, according to the CDC. The viral infection is also linked to:

  • 91 percent of anal cancers
  • 75 percent of vaginal cancers
  • 72 percent of cancers in the back of the throat (including the base of the tongue and tonsils)
  • 69 percent of vulvar cancers
  • 63 percent of penile cancers

While the CDC notes the links in these cases, the estimates don’t necessarily mean that HPV caused these cancers.

Many of these cancers, for instance, also have strong ties to tobacco and alcohol use, the CDC says.

Importantly, the types of HPV that cause genital warts are different from the types that cause cancer.

But you should still get screened for the above types of cancer if you have genital warts, because you may also be carrying a cancer-causing form of HPV, in addition to HPV 6 or 11.

 

Article By Joseph Bennington-Castro

  • Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD

Is It Safe to Have Sex With an HIV Positive Partner?

HIV is spread by sexual contact, especially anal, with an infected person, by sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection) with someone who is infected, or through blood transfusions. The latter is not common in countries where blood is screened. Babies born to HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breastfeeding after birth.

The only foolproof method of protecting yourself from contracting HIV or any STD is abstinence. However, safer sex practices can help lessen your chances of contracting HIV or other STDs.

Preventing the transmission of bodily fluids between partners is key to preventing the transmission of HIV. Use a condom every time you have intercourse with your partner, including oral sex. When he performs oral sex on you, use a dental dam or plastic wrap to prevent the exchange of fluids, and use a condom when performing oral sex on him. (Kissing someone with HIV is safe, but if one or both of you has an oral sore, you should abstain from kissing until it heals.) Remember, all it takes is one incident of unprotected sex, so use protection every single time you are intimate. Keep in mind, a condom does not prevent the transmission of skin to skin transmitted STDs such as herpes, syphilis and genital warts.

What you need to know about hepatitis.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, and it is most often caused by viral infections. Some types of hepatitis will cause discomfort but eventually go away, while others, like chronic hepatitis C, can be deadly.

Viral types of hepatitis — A, B,C, D, and E — are contracted in various ways. Other non-viral causes of hepatitis relate to toxic exposures and autoimmune disease.

Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and also the number one reason for liver transplants in the United States. More than 1.2 million Americans are affected by hepatitis B, and over 3 million have chronic hepatitis C, though many don’t know they are infected.

“The liver is responsible for filtering from the bloodstream harmful substances such as dead cells, toxins, fats, hormones, and a yellowish substance called bilirubin, a byproduct of the breakdown of old red blood cells,” says Rashmi Gulati, MD, medical director of Patients Medical in New York City.

“If the liver is inflamed, tender, and enlarged, it becomes unable to function normally. As a result, toxins that would normally be filtered out by the liver build up in the body, and certain nutrients are not processed and stored as they should be.”

Types of Hepatitis

Of the viral causes of hepatitis, hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common. There are also two other forms known as hepatitis D and hepatitis E.

Hepatitis C is the most serious of the more common viral types, says Dr. Gulati. Hepatitis C causes more than 16,000 U.S. deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“About 85 percent of hepatitis C infections lead to chronic liver disease,” Gulati says. “The virus causes slowly progressing, but ultimately devastating damage to the liver.”

Both hepatitis A and B also can be dangerous. “Hepatitis A virus can cause acute liver disease, but can heal within a few months. It can cause high spiking fevers and is more severe in adults than in children,” says Gulati.

“Hepatitis B virus has an 85 percent recovery rate, while 15 percent develop cirrhosis or cancer of the liver.”

Of the rarer viral types, hepatitis D sometimes appears in conjunction with hepatitis B, making for a deadly combination. Hepatitis E is more common outside the United States and appears to put pregnant women at the greatest risk.

Toxic hepatitis is not caused by a virus, but occurs as a result of exposure to toxins like drugs and alcohol. And autoimmune hepatitis happens when the body’s immune system goes awry and attacks its own liver without the presence of a virus.

How Hepatitis Is Transmitted

Hepatitis A is usually spread from person to person or by ingesting food or water that is contaminated with the virus. In some cases, raw shellfish from polluted waters can also spread the disease.

Hepatitis B and C are usually spread through infected blood or other bodily fluids.

Doctors, dentists, and nurses, as well as staff and patients at blood banks, dialysis clinics, and pathology laboratories, are at a greater risk of developing these kinds of hepatitis due to accidental blood exposure.

Drug users who share needles are at high risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, as are those who have unprotected sex with an infected person.

Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis

If you contract hepatitis, it may present in a way that is similar to a nasty bout of a flu, says Dr. Gulati. Common symptoms of hepatitis include:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pains
  • Drowsiness

 

Other warning signs to look out for include dark urine, light, clay-colored stools, abdominal discomfort, and jaundice, the yellowing of the whites of the eyes or the skin due to an accumulation of bilirubin.

If you have hepatitis, a simple blood test will show elevated liver enzymes. Additional blood tests can help identify which virus, if any, is to blame.

What To Do About Hepatitis

If you have hepatitis A or B, in most cases you’ll get better with a doctor’s care and supportive treatment without specific anti-viral treatments.

Hepatitis C and other chronic forms will probably affect your life more profoundly, but you can do a lot to manage the condition and keep it under control.

If someone in your home has hepatitis, it is also important to take appropriate precautions to avoid spreading the disease.

For hepatitis A, handwashing is extremely important. For hepatitis B and C, care should be taken to avoid contact with the blood of the infected individual, even the microscopic amounts that hide in toothbrushes and on razors, so never share these items.

Treatment can suppress or even eradicate hepatitis C. Older treatments for hepatitis C are combination antiviral therapy with pegylated interferon and ribavirin.

The treatment came with difficult side effects, and was effective for only about 40 to 80 percent of patients, depending on the type of hepatitis C they carried.

Newer drugs approved by the FDA in 2013 and 2014 are more effective, curing the viral infection for 90 percent of patients or more. New antiviral medications to treat hepatitis C include simeprevir (Olysio) and sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), and combination therapies include Harvoni and Viekira Pak.

Preventing Hepatitis

Vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B for at-risk individuals, such as health care workers.

“For hepatitis A, vaccination for those patients with risk of exposure or known exposure can prevent transmission of the disease,” says Kimberly Brown, MD, chief of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“Patients who live with someone with hepatitis B, have a sexual partner with hepatitis B, are born to a mother with hepatitis B, or are health care workers should be vaccinated [against hepatitis B]. Since there is no vaccination for hepatitis C, patients need to be aware that avoiding blood-to-blood contact with infected individuals is critical.”

The best approach is to take all precautions to avoid hepatitis. This includes avoiding sexual or blood contact with someone who may be infected and discussing your concerns with your doctor if you feel that you may be at risk.

Written by: Wyatt Myers, Everyday Health

Medically reviewed by: Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Can You Risk Not Using Condoms to Protect Against STDs?

Switching out condoms for a more intimate form of birth control is a big step in your relationship. But knowledge is your best defense against unwanted consequences, such as STDs and conceiving.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel closer to the person you love. Perhaps you’ve been dating for a long time and share an unshakable emotional connection and an intense sexual chemistry. Maybe, after spending so much time together, both in and out of the bedroom, that little rubber barrier that stands between you is beginning to feel like an unnecessary nuisance. For many couples, choosing a non-barrier method of birth control in lieu of condoms is a totally natural event in the formation of a long-term relationship. However, before taking the plunge, there are facts you should know, precautions you should take, and conversations you should definitely have with your partner.

The ABCs of STDs

The spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. One in three men and women has contracted at least one STD by the age of 24. While new medical treatments and tests have given many people a new lease on life after having such illnesses, the fact remains the same: Most STDs are lifelong conditions, some of which can have very serious long-term effects, especially for women, whose sexual organs are largely internal.

Just because you can’t see the symptoms of an STD doesn’t mean it isn’t there. For example, each year, an estimated three million people are infected with Chlamydia, which is sometimes referred to as the silent STD because often it produces no symptoms. As a result, many men and women don’t know they have it. Furthermore, up to 40 percent of women with untreated chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can result in infertility. Complications in men are rarer.

Know your partner. Sit down with your partner and have a discussion at length about your sexual histories. Depending on what kind of a dynamic your relationship has, this may feel awkward. However, it is absolutely necessary for you to know who your partner was with before you and vice versa. If there were any strange physical symptoms or sexual anomalies during sexual experiences either of you have had in the past, now is the time to be open with each other.

Discuss the consequences. What will be your course of action if you become pregnant? Regardless of what choice you’d make, would your partner be supportive of that choice? Even with another form of birth control, removing the barrier method heightens your likelihood of conceiving, and it’s always important to be clear in your communication with your partner.

Get tested together. Set up an appointment to get tested together and keep that box of condoms handy until you receive the results. When you do hear from the doctor, show your results to your partner and ask him to do the same. As an act of trust, it will bring you emotionally closer together, and seeing test results is the only way for sure to know what you’re signing up for when you’re not using condoms.

It’s wonderful to trust your partner, but it’s even better to know the two of you are safe and healthy. Get tested — and free your mind for other things!

By Dr. Laura Berman

10 Essential Facts About Chlamydia.

Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States, but most people don’t realize they have it. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you’re sexually active, you may have had chlamydia at some point in your life. These 10 facts show that while it’s a common bacterial infection, chlamydia can have serious consequences.

1. Chlamydia is common, but many people don’t realize they have it. About 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014, but the real number is likely higher because chlamydia is considered an underreported infection.

“The number of reported cases is substantially lower than the true estimated incidence,” says Bradley Stoner MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and former president of the American Sexually Transmitted Disease Association.

“Most recent data suggest there are more than 2.8 million cases in the United States annually,” says Dr. Stoner. “And unfortunately, chlamydia rates are up this year.”

2. Chlamydia is caused by sexually transmitted bacteria. The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis causes chlamydia infection, which usually occurs in the genital tract: the cervix in women and the penis in men. In both women and men, the bacteria may also infect the rectum and the throat.

“Infections are spread during any kind of sexual activity — vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse,” says Jonathan Schaffir, MD, an ob/gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Sexual activity between same-sex partners can also result in a chlamydia infection, sometimes of the rectum or throat in both men and women.

3. Young sexually active women are most susceptible. Women between ages 15 and 24 are most likely to be newly infected with chlamydia, according to the CDC, but anyone who is sexually active — male or female — can be infected. Men who have oral or anal sex with men are also at risk, notes the CDC.

4. Chlamydia is only contagious from person to person. You can only get chlamydia by having sexual intercourse with an infected person, not from casual contact, clothing, or contaminated food or water.

“The chlamydia organism lives only in human cells and cannot be transmitted by external contact, such as towels or toilet seats,” Dr. Schaffir says.

5. Symptoms can differ for men and women. “By and large, most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic — they are picked up by screening, which is why it’s so important to have good screening programs in place,” notes Stoner. Men or women who have chlamydia symptoms may experience painful urination.

Women may also have these symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Smelly discharge from the cervix
  • Pain during sex
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding between periods

And men may have these symptoms:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Painful testicles

6. Chlamydia infection may have long-term health consequences. For women, long-term effects of an untreated chlamydia infection may include:

  • Severe infection with pain and fever requiring a hospital stay
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, an infection of the upper reproductive tract
  • Scarring in the reproductive tract that causes infertility

Men are less likely than women to have major health problems linked to chlamydia. But infection can sometimes result in arthritis in both men and women, along with painful urination and conjunctivitis (pink eye).

7. A woman can pass chlamydia on to her newborn during childbirth. In addition to the unpleasant and painful symptoms of infection, chlamydia can cause serious problems for newborns. When a baby is exposed to the mother’s untreated infection during childbirth, the infant can contract eye infections and pneumonia, notes the March of Dimes.

8. Antibiotics are a highly effective cure for chlamydia infection. These include:

  • Zithromax (Azithromycin)
  • Doryx (Doxycycline) 

A single oral dose of Zithromax is the most common treatment. Other drugs may be given in varying doses for a period of up to a week. Most cases of chlamydia clear up within a week after you start on antibiotics.

9. You can get chlamydia more than once. With some diseases, having one infection makes you immune to future infections. That’s not the case with chlamydia, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If you’re in a sexual relationship with an infected person, you could get chlamydia again even if you’ve just completed treatment.

  • “Both partners should be treated before reinitiating sexual intercourse to prevent relapse,” Schaffir says.

     

10. Chlamydia can be prevented. The most effective way to prevent infection is through proper screening at your routine doctor’s visit. Always use latex condoms when having intercourse of any kind, including oral, to reduce your risk of infection. Abstaining from sexual contact is another way to prevent the spread of chlamydia.

  • Screening for chlamydia is painless: It usually simply involves testing a urine sample, or if you are a woman, a specimen swabbed from your vagina.

    You should be screened annually for chlamydia if you are:

    • A sexually active woman under age 25
    • A woman over 25 who has multiple sexual partners
    • A woman whose sexual partner may have multiple sexual partners
    • Are pregnant (pregnant women should be screened as early as possible in the pregnancy, with a screening again in the third trimester)
    • At increased risk for other health reasons

    “I would emphasize that young women should be screened if they engage in any sexual behavior that puts them at risk, because [chlamydia] often has no symptoms, and early treatment is important to avoid long-term damage and infertility,” Schaffir says.

    “If you think you have been exposed to chlamydia,” Stoner says, “see your healthcare provider to receive antibiotic medication to prevent the onset of infection.”

 

Article by Mark Henricks of Everyday Health

 

 

 

What is bacterial vaginosis and how is it spread?

The most common vaginal infection among American women, Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can be spread through sexual contact.

Bacterial vaginosis is a common vaginal infection that can be caused by a bacterial imbalance in the vagina or transmitted through sexual contact.

It’s the most common type of vaginal infection in American women.

And it’s surprisingly prevalent among pregnant women: Sixteen percent of expectant mothers in the United States have bacterial vaginosis.

Causes of BV

Bacteria naturally occur in the vagina, but there are both “good” and “bad” types of bacteria.

There’s a careful balance between the good and bad bacteria that live in the vagina, and when that balance is disrupted, bacterial vaginosis can occur.

What causes this bacterial imbalance isn’t exactly known, but there seems to be some evidence that it can be a sexually transmitted disease.

“We know that women who have multiple sexual partners or women who have a new sexual partner are at a higher risk of getting bacterial vaginosis,” says Jennifer A. Shuford, MD, MPH, director of applied science at the Medical Institute for Sexual Health in Austin, Texas.

“Male sexual partners of these women carry these bacteria in the penis, so there is evidence of sexual exchange.”

But, says Dr. Shuford, sexual contact is not the only method of infection. “Women who have had no sexual contact their whole lives can still get bacterial vaginosis.”

BV Symptoms

Some women have bacterial vaginosis and don’t have any symptoms.

But when symptoms do appear, they may include:

  • Vaginal discharge that may be white or gray in color
  • Discharge with a strong, foul odor
  • Vaginal odor that is particularly strong, with a fishy smell after sex
  • Vaginal itching
  • Painful or burning urination

Risk Factors and Complications of BV

Having sex with someone who has bacterial vaginosis, as well as having multiple sex partners or a new sex partner, can put you at risk for the infection, says Shuford.

Douching can also increase the risk, as it disrupts the balance of bacteria in the vagina.

The complications and health risks of bacterial vaginosis can be serious if the infection isn’t treated.

Untreated vaginosis can lead to:

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID is an inflammation of the female reproductive system, including the uterus, fallopian tubes, and even the ovaries.

Shuford notes that PID can lead to a number of complications, including infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

Pregnancy complications Pregnant women with bacterial vaginosis may be at a higher risk for having low-birth-weight babies, says Shuford, as well as premature rupture of the membranes (your water breaks too early).

Greater risk of other sexually transmitted infection Women who have bacterial vaginosis are at greater risk of getting HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Increased risk of postsurgical infection Women who have bacterial vaginosis may be more likely to develop an infection after surgeries affecting the reproductive system, such as a hysterectomy or an abortion.

BV Treatment

Bacterial vaginosis is easily diagnosed using a sample of vaginal fluid and is treated with a simple round of antibiotics.

Antibiotics may be given orally or in the form of a topical cream or ointment inserted in the vagina, notes Shuford.

Bacterial vaginosis can recur, even after antibiotic treatment. It’s important to make sure you take all of the antibiotics as prescribed.

Treatment of male sexual partners is generally not recommended.

By Diana Rodriguez

Is your HIV treatment working?

HIV treatment can become ineffective for a number of reasons, which can raise your viral load and trigger symptoms.

Current treatments available for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are very effective, allowing people with the virus to live long and relatively healthy lives. However, sometimes your specific treatment can start to fail, which can raise your viral load and trigger symptoms. It’s important to know the signs of treatment failure and what you can do to help prevent it.

Routine Blood Testing for Effective HIV Treatment

The answers you need to keep your HIV treatment on track come from the results of a blood test that measures your viral load. Your treatment regimen is considered effective if it’s able to control HIV to the point that the virus is virtually undetectable in your body. The virus is still present, but the viral load level is low enough that HIV is considered controlled.

When an HIV treatment regimen fails, the virus begins to multiply and mutate, or change, which can lead to disease progression and eventually AIDS.

For this reason, routine blood testing is extremely important. Symptoms that indicate HIV treatment failure don’t show up until several months after a treatment stops working, says Laura Guderian, MD, primary care physician at One Medical Group in New York City. But your doctor can determine if your regimen is working much sooner using blood tests to monitor your viral load and CD4 count, two important measurements that indicate whether your medication is doing its job.

Viral load is the best indicator of how effective your treatment is, says Dr. Guderian. “An increase in viral load level is the first sign of possible treatment failure.” The higher the viral load level, the more active the virus is in your system.

CD4 cells are the cells in your body that help fight infection. HIV destroys these cells when it attacks your immune system. A goal of antiretroviral therapy as treatment for HIV is to keep your immune system healthy. A low CD4 count alerts your doctor that your medication isn’t working as it should.

Reasons for HIV Treatment Failure

There are a number of possible causes of HIV treatment failure. Skipping medications or not following your regimen as directed can be to blame, so be sure to stick to your treatment plan faithfully.

But some causes of HIV treatment failure may be out of your control. HIV medications may interact with other medications or supplements, making them less effective. Unmanageable side effects from HIV medications can cause treatment interference. In some instances, people don’t get the full dose of medication because their bodies aren’t able to absorb the HIV medication properly.

HIV Drug Resistance

It’s also possible that your type of HIV has developed a resistance to one or more of the HIV drugs in your regimen. This is called drug resistance, and it occurs when the virus mutates in your body and the new form of the virus doesn’t respond to the medication anymore.

“These virus mutations are archived over time, making them a permanent part of the HIV circulating in your body,” says Guderian. “Once the drug-resistant virus develops, it’s always there. This is an irreversible process, making that drug — or sometimes even entire classes of HIV drugs — no longer effective at any point in the future,” she says. However, there’s a wide range of treatment options available when it comes to antiretroviral therapies for HIV, so if this occurs, your doctor should be able to formulate an effective new treatment regimen for you.

Steps to Take to Help Prevent HIV Treatment Failure

You can help avoid HIV drug resistance by taking these steps to prevent it from occurring:

  • Take your medication every day. This helps block HIV replication, says Guderian. Use an alarm on your phone, watch, or another device to make sure you follow your prescribed dosing schedule. Fill prescriptions early, so you don’t risk running out of medication.
  • Take your medication as directed. Some HIV medications must be taken with food to ensure that the drug is properly absorbed into the body. Be sure you know how your medication should be taken.
  • Let your doctor know about side effects or other treatment challenges. It’s essential that you tell your doctor if any side effects — such as nausea, diarrhea, depressed mood, or poor appetite — are making it difficult for you to stick to your HIV treatment regimen. These side effects can usually be managed, and if not, your doctor may prescribe different combinations of medicines for you.
  • Ask your doctor about testing for HIV drug resistance. This type of testing looks for drug-resistant mutations in your specific strain of HIV and is usually done when you’re first diagnosed. This helps determine the medication that will be most effective for you. Testing for drug resistance should be performed again anytime your HIV viral load increases to make sure new drug-resistant mutations haven’t developed.

Article by: Mikel Theobold, Everyday Health