Pregnancy is not the only consequence of having sex that should concern you.
In fact, for the average young woman, pregnancy is only possible 3 to 6 days of every month, but anyone – guy or girl – who is sexually active can get a sexually transmitted disease (STD), any day of any month. We offer free and confidential STD screenings.
Some of these illnesses can be addressed and cured, while others may have lifelong effects.
Free Screening for STDs
If you have had sex and are concerned about sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs), it is important that you get tested. At Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center we offer confidential screening and treatment referrals for chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the most commonly reported bacterial infections among young adults today.
For women who are infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea there is a greater chance of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, or PID. PID causes about 100,000 women to become infertile each year with permanent damage to reproductive organs.
Free STD screening is available by appointment at Lighthouse for women and men of all ages, and requires two visits. Your first visit will involve collecting a urine sample. For more accurate test results, you should not be menstruating and you should hold your urine for at least one hour before your appointment. Other guidelines may be explained when you schedule your appointment.
TEXT us today 201-677-2394 or FILL OUT A FORM to schedule a free STD test.
Lighthouse also offers a safe, confidential place to discuss questions or concerns about relationships and sex. We are here to support you in making life-enhancing choices for a healthy future!
What are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
STDs are diseases that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. These include (but are not limited to): chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and HIV. Many of these STDs do not show symptoms for a long time – if at all – but they can still be harmful and transmitted during sex. (STDs are sometimes referred to as STIs, sexually transmitted infections.)
How are STDs spread?
You can get an STD by having sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with someone who has an STD. Anyone who is sexually active can get an STD. You don’t even have to “go all the way” to get an STD, since some, like herpes and HPV, are spread by skin-to-skin contact.
How common are STDs?
STDs are common, especially among young people. There are about 20 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, and about half of these are in people between the ages of 15 and 24. Young people are at greater risk of getting an STD for several reasons:
- Young women’s bodies are biologically more susceptible to STDs.
- Some young people do not get the recommended STD tests.
- Many young people are hesitant to talk openly and honestly with a doctor or nurse about their sex lives.
- Not having insurance or transportation can make it more difficult for young people to access STD testing.
- Some young people have more than one sex partner.
What can I do to protect myself?
The surest way to protect yourself against STDs is to not have sex. Practicing “abstinence” means not having any vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There are many things to consider before having sex, and it’s okay to say “no” if you don’t want to have sex. Your partner should always respect your right to say no. Also, to keep yourself safe, avoid using alcohol and drugs; using them can make you more likely to take risks you would normally avoid.
If I get an STD, how will I know?
Many STDs don’t cause any noticeable symptoms, so the only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested. You can get an STD from having sex with someone who has “no” symptoms. Just like you, that person might not even know he or she has an STD.
Can STDs be treated?
Some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be cured with medicine. Other STDs, like herpes, can’t be cured, but you can take medicine to help with the symptoms. If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better before you finish it. Ask your medical provider about testing and treatment for your partner, too. Unless you’ve both been treated, you may continue to pass the STD back and forth.
It is possible to get an STD again (after you’ve been treated), if you have sex with someone who has an STD. Some curable STDs can be dangerous if they aren’t treated. For example, if left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can make it difficult—or even impossible—for a woman to get pregnant. You also increase your chances of getting HIV if you have an untreated STD. Some STDs, like HIV, can be fatal if left untreated. 1
How do STDs affect pregnancy?
- A pregnant woman with an STD can infect her baby before, during, or after the baby’s birth.
- She may also have a miscarriage, early labor, or early rupture of the membranes surrounding the baby in the uterus leading to a premature birth2.
- Lighthouse does not provide STD testing to pregnant women; we recommend you ask your medical provider about STD testing and also tell your doctor about any STDs you may have or have had.
- Excerpted from “Information for Teens: Staying Healthy and Preventing STDs” – CDC Fact Sheet at http://www.cdc.gov/std/life-stages-populations/STDFact-Teens.htm
- Center for Disease Control webpage, http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/default.htm, accessed July 2014.