Free STD Testing and InformationThink you might have symptoms of an Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)?
Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center offers free STD testing for women. Our current services include urine tests for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, as well as an oral swab screen for HIV. Our staff Registered Nurses administer our tests and will answer any questions you have about your sexual health.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) may not seem like a threat, but every time you have sex, unless you are in a monogamous relationship, like marriage, with an uninfected partner you put yourself at risk.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in America, half among young people ages 15–24. Each of these infections is a potential threat to an individual’s immediate and long-term health and well-being. In addition to increasing a person’s risk for HIV infection, STDs can lead to severe reproductive health complications, such as infertility and ectopic pregnancy. STDs are also a serious drain on the U.S. health care system, costing the nation almost $16 billion in health care costs every year.
What is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
It is an infection passed from person to person through sexual contact. STIs are sometimes called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. An STI refers to an infection present in the body, which may or may not be accompanied by symptoms. An STD refers to damage already done by that sexually transmitted infection, and also may or may not be accompanied by symptoms.
How do you get an STD?
You can get an STD by having intimate sexual contact with someone who already has an infection. Sometimes, you can’t tell if a person is infected because many STDs have no symptoms. But STDs can still be passed from person to person even if there are no symptoms. STDs are spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, or during any kind of genital touching. So it’s possible to get some STDs without having full intercourse. Not all STDs are spread the same way.
Who needs to get tested for STDs?
Can STDs cause health problems?
Yes. Each STD causes different health problems. But overall, untreated STDs can cause cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, pregnancy problems, widespread infection to other parts of the body, organ damage, and even death.
Having an STD also can put you at greater risk of getting HIV. For one, not stopping risky sexual behavior can lead to infection with other STDs, including HIV. Also, infection with some STDs makes it easier for you to get HIV if you are exposed.
How do STDs affect pregnant women and their babies?
STDs can cause many of the same health problems in pregnant women as women who are not pregnant. But having an STD also can threaten the pregnancy and unborn baby’s health. Having an STD during pregnancy can cause early labor, a woman’s water to break early, and infection in the uterus after the birth.
Some STDs can be passed from a pregnant woman to the baby before and during the baby’s birth. Some STDs, like syphilis, cross the placenta and infect the baby while it is in the uterus. Other STDs, like Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B, and Genital Herpes, can be passed from the mother to the baby during delivery as the baby passes through the birth canal. HIV can cross the placenta during pregnancy and infect the baby during the birth process.
The harmful effects to babies may include:
- Low birth weight
- Eye infection
- Infection in the baby’s blood
- Brain damage
- Lack of coordination in body movements
- Acute hepatitis
- Chronic liver disease
Some of these problems can be prevented if the mother receives routine prenatal care, which includes screening tests for STDs starting early in pregnancy and repeated close to delivery, if needed. Other problems can be treated if the infection is found at birth.
*Much of the above information came from CDC.gov (http://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm) and WomensHealth.gov (http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.html#a) (Last accessed and updated 1/2018).
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*To set up an appointment, please call us at 336-274-4881.
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