What Makes a Condom Fail?

What makes a condom fail?
What makes a condom fail?

What Makes a Condom Fail?

Condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trich if they are used properly and every time you have sex. The important takeaway here is properly and every time. STI testing is so important because condoms fail if not used properly.

If your boyfriend has been storing his condoms in his wallet for the last few years just waiting for a chance to use them, they are probably expired. That’s right, condom boxes and packages have expiration dates! Or let’s say he has kept them in the glove box of his car, through the cold of winter and the heat of summer – the chances of them still being effective are pretty low. These conditions can make condoms fail.

So it is important that condoms be used before their expiration date. You also want to make sure the condom isn’t worn down from being carried around and that the package isn’t opened by something sharp – if you want it to work. It’s also important that the condom is the right size, you have proper lubrication, and there is room left at the tip to prevent breakage.

It is difficult enough to get him to use one, so make sure it is still in good working condition when he does. After all, why would you wear one just to have the condom fail?

If by some chance the condom breaks during sex, you need to stop immediately and use a new one. But there will still be questions in the back of your mind – What if I’m pregnant? What if he gave me an STI? Was I exposed long enough for either of these to happen?

When a condom breaks, there is always a chance that a pregnancy could occur or an STI could have been transferred.  Remember that many people who have an STI are not aware that they have one – so you can’t rely on symptoms to let you know if you’ve been exposed! A condom fail is a sign that you need to be tested – for pregnancy and an STI.

So, if you missed your period or have a positive pregnancy test, rather than sitting at home stressing about being pregnant and having an STI, click here or call to request your free appointment at Alcove Health. Located in Newport News, we provide a pregnancy test with each STI appointment and we offer STI testing with every pregnancy appointment. All of our services are provided for free – and yes, when we say free, we mean completely free. So stop worrying about your condom fail and get peace of mind. Request your confidential appointment today.

By Kinta, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

June 8, 2022

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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 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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