How Long to Wait For an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex
How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

How Long to Wait for an STI Test After Unprotected Sex

Immediately after having unprotected sex, you may want to run to your local clinic and get tested. But what good is a negative STI test if the test is too soon to be trusted? How long should you wait for an STI test after unprotected sex? What is the time frame between being exposed to an STI and when you would test positive for it if you were infected?

STIs are a category of infections that are primarily passed through sexual contact.  That includes genital sex, oral sex and anal sex.

First, a few important terms:

    • The incubation period is the time it takes for the body to produce antibodies and symptoms to appear after being exposed to an infection.
    • The latency period is the time between your exposure to an STI and when you can pass that infection on to other people.
    • The window period is how long it takes between your exposure to an STI and getting an accurate test result.

It’s possible to be infected with an STI and not be experiencing any symptoms. Even during this time you’re able to pass that infection on to your sexual partner. That’s why it’s important to test regularly and not wait for symptoms to arise.  You can unknowingly pass along an infection – even if you have no symptoms! This is one reason STIs are such an epidemic in our country. It is recommended that all sexually active adults get tested for STIs with each new partner, or at least once a year.

But still, there is a time it’s too soon to test – a time period where you will need to wait for an STI test.

Here is a guideline for the testing window (how long you should wait between the sexual encounter and getting tested) for some of the most common STIs:

    • Gonorrhea 7-14 days
    • Chlamydia 5-14 days
    • Trichomonas 7-30 days 
    • HIV 18-90 days
    • Hepatitis C  2-6 weeks
    • Syphilis 3-6 weeks
    • Herpes (HSV 2) 1-4 months

There are benefits to detecting these infections early and receiving the appropriate treatment in a timely manner. If you think you may have an STI, it’s important to stop engaging in sexual activity and get tested. Knowing the incubation period and testing windows of the most common infections can help you determine how long you should wait for an STI test and when to seek medical help. You can play an important role in stopping the transmission of STIs between yourself, your sexual partners, and their sexual partners. In some cases, testing can even save your life.

Some of the potential risks of untreated STIs include:

Taking care of your sexual health is important. Not everyone will voluntarily disclose their STI status to you. You can take control of your sexual health by asking questions, screening new sexual partners, and having open and honest discussions about sexually transmitted diseases. 

You are worth taking the time to gain trust and build a lasting relationship before engaging in intimate behavior. At Alcove Health Women’s Clinic, we can provide you with the information and tools you need to build healthy, trusting, and lasting relationships. We also test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas at no charge. Additionally, we will provide you with a no-cost pregnancy test during your medical appointment. We would love to schedule an appointment for you to talk with an advocate and see a Registered Nurse. Call or click here to request your free and confidential appointment!

By Meg, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

May 24, 2022

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Can I Still Get An Abortion If I Have An STD?

Can I Still Get An Abortion If I Have An STD?
Can I Still Get An Abortion If I Have An STD?

Can I Still Get An Abortion If I Have An STD?

STD testing before an abortion is an important part of taking care of your reproductive health

Many women considering an abortion are not aware that free STD testing before an abortion is an important part of taking care of your reproductive health.  You might be tempted to think this is an unnecessary step. After all, isn’t it obvious when you have an STD?  We all remember those “nasty” pictures in high school health class.  But that’s not reality. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, many STDs (also known as STIs) “have no signs or symptoms”, meaning they are asymptomatic.  In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of people with STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis are unaware they are infected.  Chlamydia is often called the “silent STD” 

And of course, just because you have no symptoms does not mean you are unable to spread an STD.  In fact, if you live in the Newport News area, you need to know that we apparently have a lot of STDs!  Newport News ranks as the 37th most diseased city in the United States.  In 2020, in Newport News and Hampton, there were 5,289 cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia. And that’s just 2 of the many STDs out there.

So now that you’re convinced free STD testing is important, you might still be asking, “Why do I need STD testing before an abortion?”.  Any type of abortion procedure increases the chance of an undiagnosed STD spreading from your vagina to the rest of your reproductive organs, including your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.  If this were to occur, it can cause a more serious infection called PID, pelvic inflammatory disease. When PID is left untreated it can be life-threatening.

Please do not gamble with your health.  We are here for you.  Not only do we provide no-cost pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, but we also provide no-cost STD testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis because no matter what decision you make, we want you to be fully informed and as safe as possible.  We care about you. Call us or click here to request your confidential appointment today.

By Kinta, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

March 16, 2022

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I’m Afraid I’m Pregnant, Do I Need An STI Test?

I’m afraid I’m pregnant, do I need an STI test?
I’m afraid I’m pregnant, do I need an STI test?

I’m afraid I’m pregnant, do I need an STI test?

If it's possible that you may be pregnant, it's also possible that you may have an STI

There are some things in life that you absolutely must know for sure! There is no room for guessing games, no space for maybes. Some things are just too important. Knowing whether or not you are pregnant is definitely at the top of the list. And knowing if you have an STI is next in line. If it is possible that you may be pregnant, it is also possible that you may have an STI. Let’s face it. If you’ve had unprotected sex, you need an STI test and a pregnancy test.

Let us help you get the answers you need. Alcove Health Women’s Clinic provides free and confidential pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, options consultations, and STI testing. These services will answer the pregnancy question and help you get the information you need to decide your next steps.

You may be so concerned with a pregnancy, that you’re not even thinking about an STI. But you should. Here’s why:

    • You can have an STI without knowing it. You can have an STI and have no symptoms. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion most STIs “either do not produce any symptoms or signs, or they produce symptoms so mild that they are unnoticed”.   
    • You may have symptoms, but mistakenly think the symptoms are related to something else.
    • You or your partner may have passed on an infection from a previous sexual partner, without knowing it. Don’t just take his word!
    • An STI can be spread in more than one way. Many STIs can spread through oral sex.
    • It’s important to TEST and RETEST! The Center for Disease Control recommends that persons who have been treated for chlamydia and gonorrhea retest 3 months after being treated.

Whether or not you are pregnant or have an STI are not the kinds of questions you want to leave unanswered. An untreated STI can lead to serious medical conditions  which can impact your health, both now and later. It may feel a little embarrassing to talk about, but protecting your sexual health is worth a little discomfort.

    • In 2018, 26 million cases of STIs were reported to the CDC. Over half of those cases were reported in young adults, ages 15 to 24.
    • In 2019, 1,808,703 cases of chlamydia and 616,392 cases of gonorrhea were reported to the Center for Disease Control. Almost 2/3 of the chlamydia cases were in people ages 15 to 24.

Get a pregnancy test and an STI test so you can know for sure. Call Alcove Health Women’s Clinic. We provide free and confidential pregnancy tests and STI testing. If your STI test is positive, we can also provide you with information on where to go to receive confidential treatment. Alcove Health Women’s Clinic understands this is a sensitive subject and we are waiting to provide a safe, supportive, judgement-free space for you to get the answers you need, so you can know for sure. Click here to request your confidential appointment today.

By Karen, Client Advocate

February 15, 2022

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I’m Pregnant and I’m Scared

I'm Pregnant and I'm Scared
I'm Pregnant and I'm Scared

I'm pregnant and i'm scared

An unplanned pregnancy feels scary and lonely. But you aren’t alone.

Even before you receive your free pregnancy test, you’re probably scared.

After all, you’ve seen those two lines on the pregnancy test you took at home. You knew pregnancy was a possibility, but seeing the test makes it all so real.

It’s right there in the 2nd line of your pregnancy test – positive.

And then comes the fear.

An unplanned pregnancy feels scary and lonely. But you aren’t alone.

Here at Alcove Health, we see you and we want to help. So take a deep breath and let’s settle some of this fear.

You have options – whether you’re considering an abortion or carrying the pregnancy to term. But before you chase down all your options (even in your mind), what you need first is more information.

But I have a positive pregnancy test, what else could I possibly need to know? you may be asking yourself.

Actually, there’s a lot you don’t know. And unknowns often cause fear.

First, you need a lab-grade pregnancy test to verify that your test result is accurate – we do that at no-cost right here at Alcove Health.

Then, if your test is positive, you need an ultrasound, so you can know if the pregnancy is ectopic (a health emergency) and so you can know if the pregnancy is in the process of miscarrying – we do that at no-cost right here at Alcove Health.

Finally, you need STI/STD testing, especially if you are considering an abortion – yep, we also do that at no-cost right here at Alcove Health.

Here at Alcove Health Women’s clinic, we provide even more – like an options consultation and a private conversation with one of our Registered Nurses. But the cost isn’t more; it’s always the same – free.

Look, we understand fear. That’s why we’re a safe space for you to process your feelings, understand your options, and receive important medical services so you can make the best decision for your reproductive health.

A lot of times fear is based on the unknowns. Worrying and stressing won’t help. You know what will help? Getting the information you need to make a safe choice. You can get all the information you need right here at Alcove Health.

Call Alcove Health in Newport News and make us your first contact. You’ll learn all your options. You’ll pay nothing. And you’ll gain everything you need to make a decision that’s right for you.

By Sherri, Client Advocate

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Alcove-Health-Blog-Unplanned-Pregnancy

Unplanned Pregnancy

Facing an unplanned pregnancy and not sure what to do next? At Alcove Health all of our services are FREE...

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What Is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease PID
PID

WHAT IS Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)?

What is PID and why should I care? According to the Mayo Clinic, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), is an infection of one or more reproductive organs. This includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. PID is a common and serious complication that often occurs when an STD/STI goes untreated, especially gonorrhea and chlamydia. To help reduce your chances of getting PID it is important to get a free STI/STD test.

Diagram of the Female Anatomy for PID
Image Source: CDC
THE PROBLEM:

It is not at all uncommon for women not to know they have gonorrhea or chlamydia, because often, there are no symptoms. Not knowing you have something causes problems – you don’t treat something you don’t know you have! This can also be the case with PID and there is nothing that can test specifically for PID. The diagnosis comes from your medical history, a physical exam, and other test results!

HOW DO I GET A PID?

According to the CDC – You are more likely to get PID if you:

    • Have an STI/STD and do not get treated;
    • Have more than one sex partner;
    • Have a sex partner who has sex partners other than you;
    • Have had PID before;
    • Are sexually active and are age 25 or younger;
    • Douche;
    • Use an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control.
HOW CAN I REDUCE MY RISK OF GETTING A PID?

The only way to avoid STIs/STDs is not to have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting PID:

    • Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STI/STD test results;
    • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Diagram
Image Source: Mayo Clinic
THE GOOD NEWS:

Pelvic Inflammtory Disease (PID) can be treated once diagnosed; the earlier the better.

THE BAD NEWS:

Treatment cannot repair any damage that has already been done and you are much more likely to get PID again if you get another STI/STD.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Some of the complications of PID are:

    • Formation of scar tissue both outside and inside the fallopian tubes that can lead to tubal blockage;
    • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus); can be life-threatening
    • Infertility (inability to get pregnant); Over 100,00 women in the US become infertile every year due to PID
    • Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.
AGAIN, WHY SHOULD I CARE?

The risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) increases after an abortion, even a medical abortion. During an abortion, newly introduced bacteria or already existing bacteria can be pushed further up into your reproductive tract. IF you have untreated gonorrhea or chlamydia, you are up to 23% more likely to develop PID after an abortion. PID can be life-threatening or even fatal.

Do not risk your health.  At Alcove Health Women’s Clinic, we care about you, your health, and your safety.  We provide free gonorrhea and chlamydia testing. No matter what your pregnancy decision will be, your health is important to us. Call us at 757-591-8141 or click HERE to make an appointment for free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and STI testing.

By Kinta, RN, BSN

May 24, 2021

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Hook Up Culture and It’s Cost

The hookup culture and its cost
The hookup culture and its cost

Hook-Up Culture & It's Cost

Take the time to genuinely like who you are and guard your worth.

The Culture

The hook-up culture has become quite common these days. Some may say, “It’s what everyone does!” Easier than having a relationship – friends with benefits, no commitment, no worries about cheating, have fun, and move on. Sure, it seems harmless. It may appear to be a hassle-free arrangement, but have you thought about the long-term, or sometimes even short-term effects of a hook-up? Is this what you really want?  Let’s talk honestly about some things to consider:

The Cost

Pregnancy is always a possibility even though you may have used a condom or birth control. Consider this…would you want to have a baby with this person? Another major consideration is the risk of STI/STD’s (sexually transmitted infection/sexually transmitted disease).  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports there are nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur every year – adolescents age 15-24 being the highest impacted by STDs. Consider how contracting an STD may impact your health and your future relationships. As far as STDs go, “Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of STD transmission.” Keywords: consistent and correct use. We all hear of stories where a condom comes off or rips. That’s why Alcove Health offers free STI/STD testing when women come for their free pregnancy tests; both are a possible result from a hook up.

The Chemicals

Every human brain-no matter who you are, where you live, or what your circumstances may be-reacts when you have sex, or any other intimate encounter with another person.  When this happens, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, also known as the “hug hormone.”  The rush of these bonding chemicals released during sex is designed to help you create a cemented memory, trust, and stay loyal to the person to whom you are giving yourself. That’s beneficial in a long-term relationship where you’re both committed to making it last. In a hook-up, you set the rush of chemicals in motion and then you tell it to stop. Not an easy road for your heart to follow. “In fact, research indicates that it can foster negative emotions in the long run. Many who’d had uncommitted sex reported experiencing regret after an encounter and found that men and women who had engaged in casual sex had lower self-esteem and depression symptoms. The cost of a hook-up may be more than you desired.

Be Courageous

Think seriously about deleting that Tinder App and stop trying to prove something to yourself and others.  Take the time to genuinely like who you are and guard your worth.  You know yourself better than anyone! When caught up in “the moment,” it’s easy to forget how we may feel later. And yes, it is hard to slow down in “the moment”; but take time to evaluate if such a lifestyle is beneficial in helping you to become the person you want to be. Is it helping you reach your goals and move you forward into the future you always dreamed of? Is the risk of an unplanned pregnancy or an unwanted STD worth the moment”?

Get Care

Alcove Health Women’s Clinic is here for you if you find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy and need a safe place to process and learn all of your options.  You deserve medically- evidenced information to make the best decision for your reproductive health. All for free and with total confidentiality.  Get Help-Find Hope-Be Truly Empowered!  Call us today at 757-591-8141 or schedule an appointment online.

By Stephanie, Client Advocate

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We Used a Condom

We Used A Condom
We Used A Condom

We Used a Condom

Could I Still Be Pregnant Or Have An STI?

You’ve heard about safe sex all your life.  You may not want to be pregnant right now and you definitely don’t want a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD/STI).  So you do the responsible thing.  You buy some condoms.  Right?  But then the unthinkable happens.  The condom breaks or slips off.  Now what? 

What are the chances you’ve become infected, or pregnant?  Let’s look at some statistics.  When used properly condoms are generally about 98% effective.  But that drops to 88% when they are not used correctly.   According to the CDC, The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”  But even mutually monogamous relationships can carry risks, as noted by the CDC, “many infected persons may be unaware of their infections because STDs are often asymptomatic or unrecognized.”  And of course, no form of birth control is 100% effective.

Hindsight is 20/20.  If it’s too late and you think you might be facing an unplanned pregnancy, give us a call.  Don’t let a condom fail cause you anxiety – get the answers you need today at at Alcove Health Women’s Clinic where we offer free pregnancy tests with free STI/STD tests.  We are a judgment free place to get medically evidence information; don’t spend another day worrying that you might be pregnant.  Call us at 757-591-8141 or make an appointment by clicking HERE today.  We are a safe place for you to process your options.

By Sheri, Client Advocate

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Let’s Talk About Sex

Young couple in bed having sex
Young couple in bed having sex

Let's Talk About Sex

It's Everywhere, Right?

We see it on TV, in magazines, there are even apps for it like Tinder and CasualX. So it’s what everyone does right?

Question. So if we all say “Yes” to sex before marriage does all the guilt, disappointment, diseases, and pregnancies that come with it, disappear? Nope!

So how does sex make YOU feel? Used? Confused? Angry? Lonely?

There is nothing wrong with you! Yes, there may be times you actually enjoy it but does it last? Does he last (erm, not just in the moment but long term)? MANY women feel like you, yet most are not honest, not even their friends.

A pep talk . . . As women, we want to feel cared for, loved, and accepted for us being us. Yet let’s be real, most guys just want sex. Not you, but “her”. There I said it.

Biology Lesson 101: Men are made to have a strong sex drive and yes, they think about it A LOT! But news flash – they don’t have to have sex with you because they want it, you have a choice.

You want a relationship, I know, yet sex happens. Phone calls stop, the conversation stops and before you know it, every time you are alone together, things go from zero to sex. Then the inevitable happens. You guys break up. Then you meet someone else and it happens all over again, he meets someone else and it happens all over again . . . see the pattern? Do you want to get off that hamster wheel?

You can.

Girls and Guys have conflicting goals. Ever heard that saying, “Men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love”? It’s true in most cases. Men come and go, but you are stuck with you. Who you are on the inside, your character, self-respect, hopes, and dreams; they all make you, YOU.

When you know who you are, then how you feel about yourself doesn’t depend on the guy you’re with. If you have had many partners, YOU CAN STILL START OVER!

That’s the Good News. Oh but wait, there’s more . . . YOUR FUTURE IS FROM THIS MOMENT FORWARD.

You CAN commit to saving yourself for that “special” someone, even marriage. How? I hear you ask, and who does that nowadays, isn’t that old fashioned? Nope. Just Say No to sex and say Yes to:

1. Recognizing that everyone in life makes mistakes, the mature person learns from those mistakes. You can change. Your heart can become whole again.

2. Freedom from unwanted pregnancies and STDs. If you’re having sex and think you may be pregnant, please contact Alcove Health Women’s Clinic for your free pregnancy test – we’ll also offer free STI/STD testing at the same time!

3. Figure out what makes YOU feel good, things that make you proud.

4. Understand that only you control your body. You owe no guy anything because he took you out. You are worth taking out simply because of who you are on the inside and not what you have to offer. Don’t be surprised if he calls you again to ask you back out – Guys like women who respect themselves and have a voice. Do it, girl! I got your back!

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and need help now, click here.

By Shantelle, Clinic Director

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The Pullout Method

A shocked young woman staring at a pregnancy test because she didn't think she could get pregnant using the pullout method as a form of birth control
A shocked young woman staring at a pregnancy test because she didn't think she could get pregnant using the pullout method as a form of birth control

The Pullout Method

1 in every 5 women get pregnant using the pullout method.​

Would you do something if you knew you had a 1 in 5 chance of dying? Well, 1 in every 5 women get pregnant using the pull-out method and when you get those 2 lines on your free pregnancy test, you may feel like your life is over!

Using the “pull out method” as a means of birth control requires a lot of self-control, and is not particularly effective. The precum fluid could contain sperm and the “pullout” has to be timed perfectly; which in the heat of the moment is not always the first thing on either of your minds.

The pull-out method also does not protect either of you from sexually transmitted diseases.

The “long” and the “short” of it girls is that it is YOUR responsibility to make sure YOU don’t get pregnant, or anything else. Girl, I know you want to please him, BUT it’s YOUR body, YOUR choice so it’s okay to say NO!

Facing an unplanned pregnancy? Click here to make a no-cost appointment today.

By Kinta, RN, BSN

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pregnancy and chlamydia

Pregnancy and Chlamydia

Pregnant and concerned about Sexually transmitted disease? Chlamydia can usually resolve with antibiotics. If you are pregnant, you should be...

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