Sexually Transmitted Infections
The Health Center for Women at Northland Family Planning tests for many sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including chlamydia, genital warts, herpes and HPV. Our tests and results are conducted in a confidential, respectful manner. Many patients choose to have the test to rule out the possibility of an infection while others may be responsibly checking before beginning sexual activity with a new partner.
All young women (between ages 9 – 26) should get an HPV vaccine, which is offered here at Northland.
STIs are no joke…testing for these infections helps protect your fertility:
- As many as 65 million people in the U.S. have a viral STI
- 3 million teens, about 1 in 4 sexually active teens, get a sexually transmitted infection every year
- The rising number of STI cases in all age groups is a growing concern, especially those cases of HPV and Chlamydia
- HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, which kills thousands of women each year
- HPV CAN BE SPREAD DURING ANY FORM OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITH GENITAL CONTACT- NOT JUST SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
- Most women do not know they are infected because there may be no warning signs or symptoms
Take a look at this detailed fact sheet for detailed information on all types of STIs.
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the U.S. and is more common among teens than among older women and men. It is a bacterial infection that often has NO symptoms. If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause complications such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and infertility.
Get tested annually for Chlamydia. You NEED an appointment for Chlamydia testing. Tests are done by our female Nurse Practitioner. Give us a call to schedule STI testing.
What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Genital HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, not through an exchange of bodily fluid. (This means you can get HPV without actually having sex!)
- Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 have been infected with genital HPV in their lifetime
- Some studies show that up to 15% of sexually active teenage women are infected with HPV, many with the type of HPV that is linked to cervical cancer
- We offer the HPV vaccine here at Northland, and all women and men between the ages of 9 and 26 should be vaccinated
What is the HPV vaccine?
There are currently two HPV vaccines available to the public- Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil protects against more HPV types than Cervarix so that is the vaccine we provide here at Northland. Gardasil is given as three, separate injections over a six-month period. You must complete the entire series of shots for it to be effective. Gardasil helps protect against two types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancers and two more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases. It’s believed that immunity is achieved one month after the last shot and that it remains effective for at least five years. We do not know yet if booster shots are needed. Studies are still being done to follow women who have received the vaccine to see how long their immunity lasts. For more information on the Gardasil vaccine, CLICK HERE.
What if I can’t afford the Vaccine shot?
Help is available. If you do not have insurance coverage and/or you’re unable to afford the vaccine, Merck, the pharmaceutical company that has developed and produced Gardasil, has a Patient Assistance Program that may help you get the immunization. The Health Center for Women has applications available in our offices. It only takes about 20 minutes to find out if you are eligible. Please stop in at any of our locations to find out.
What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a common bacterial infection that is transmitted through sexual contact (oral, vaginal and anal) with an infected person. It is can affect the genitals, anus, throat and/or eyes. Symptoms can include a white or yellow discharge, pain or burning sensation with urination or bowel movement, low abdominal pain and bleeding between menstrual periods. However, you can also have no symptoms at all! A simple, painless culture test can provide diagnosis. Treatment is very important, and here at Northland, we can diagnose and treat gonorrhea. There should be no sexual contact during treatment.
For more information about Gonorrhea, CLICK HERE.
What is Herpes?
Genital herpes is a STI caused by a virus that infects the sexual organs and other areas of the body. Herpes is transmitted through sexual intercourse and other sexual contact, such as oral sex. The virus must be in the “active” stage to be transmitted to another person (such as a blister, open sore, or dry “shedding”). Some people have few or no symptoms. Some do experience symptoms that can include formation of painful blisters or sores on the genitals, rectum or mouth.
Herpes can be diagnosed through the examination of a sore at the doctor’s office, a culture of fresh blisters or a blood test. While there is no cure for genital herpes, various medications, tablets and ointments are available to treat the symptoms. Give us a call and we can discuss treatment options with you.
For more information about Genital Herpes, CLICK HERE.