If you are sexually active, getting STD testing done is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Women can get STDs/STIs (sexually transmitted diseases/infections) by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has an STI.
Unfortunately, sexually transmitted infections are not rare – the CDC estimates that youth between the ages of 15-24 make up just over 25% of the sexually active population, but represent 50% of the 20 million new STIs occurring in the United States each year.
The CDC recommends that females in the following situations should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea every year:
Most women who are infected with chlamydia and gonorrhea have no symptoms, therefore testing is critical. PRC offers women convenient, free, and confidential chlamydia and gonorrhea testing near Saint Helens. Please call our SE Portland or Beaverton Pregnancy Resource Center location to schedule your free STD testing appointment.
Please note: Free STI testing is available at our SE Portland and Beaverton PRC centers by appointment only.
At our SE Portland and Beaverton Pregnancy Resource Centers, we provide free chlamydia and gonorrhea testing for women in Saint Helens, Oregon. Both of these STIs can be tested for using a simple in-clinic vaginal self-swab. Additional tests to confirm the vaginal self-swab test or check for other STIs can be performed by your regular doctor or gynecologist by drawing blood or swabbing an area where the infection may be present.
When you make an appointment for free STD testing at our SE Portland or Beaverton PRC, plan on spending an hour in our center. We will be able to tell you then how long the lab results will take to process.
The bacteria may not be detectable until 14 days after the exposure, and we recommend you allow at least 10 days post exposure before coming in for a test.
Our mission is to be there for mothers and their babies – born, preborn, and not yet conceived. This means helping women make the best possible choices for their reproductive health no matter what their stage of life.
At this time, free STD testing for our Saint Helens, Oregon neighbors is only available at our Southeast Portland and Beaverton clinics. But women from all over the Portland area, including Saint Helens, Oregon, are encouraged to make an appointment and come in. Our trained staff will treat you with judgment-free respect and confidentiality while providing you with the lab-grade, trustworthy, and free STI testing that you need to make smart decisions for your health and the health of your sexual partners.
Knowing the range, signs, and treatments of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is key in being able to fight their effects and their spread.
Chlamydia is a common STI which is caused by bacteria. It affects mostly younger, sexually active women, but can also affect men. Chlamydia can be contracted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Symptoms include
However, chlamydia can also have no signs or symptoms at all, and will be revealed only by a test: “a large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic and do not seek testing.” This makes it especially important for women who are sexually active to be tested, particularly before they engage in intercourse with a new partner. This allows the bacteria to be treated, and avoids its spread to others.
Chlamydial infection can lead to grave conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancies, infertility, chronic pelvic pain and infections in newborns.
The good news is, chlamydia can be treated easily with antibiotics. If an STI test indicates the presence of a chlamydia infection, women will be referred to their health care provider to receive treatment.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection which is spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Babies of infected mothers can also be affected, principally their eyes.
In many cases, an infection of gonorrhea causes no symptoms. However, it can be responsible for the following symptoms in women:
If the infection reaches other parts of the body, it can cause additional symptoms. But we would emphasize that there may be no symptoms of your having contracted gonorrhea – making regular and strategic testing vitally important.
Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility, complications in birth, and an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea are emerging, which may make it more difficult to treat in the future.
Herpes is a very common STD caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). After the infection has taken hold, it lies dormant but can flare up several times a year. At this time, there is no cure for herpes, though the symptoms can be managed. Symptoms include sores, scabs, ulcers, pain, and itching in your genital area. Whether you have symptoms or not, realize that if you are infected, you are still contagious whether you engage in vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Herpes must be tested for through a blood sample, PCR test, or viral culture. Please note that we are not able to provide this testing method at Portland PRCs at this time. Contact your gynecologist or regular doctor so you can verify the presence or absence of the virus.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through skin or mucous membrane contact with one of the sores of an infected person, most commonly through sexual activity. Syphilis can also be spread from mothers to unborn children. The disease goes through three stages (with some potential complications) if left untreated, and can be life-threatening. It is contagious in the first two phases, and sometimes in the early latent stage.
At any stage, syphilis may spread and infect your brain or eyes. Syphilis is a very serious condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Even though you may not be experiencing symptoms, the disease can be active nevertheless. In most cases – especially in its early stages – syphilis can be treated with a course of an antibiotic such as penicillin. If you think that you may have syphilis, arrange for an STI test with your doctor.
Also called trich, trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite which travels between people during sex. There is an incubation period from 4 days to 4 weeks between exposure and infection. In the time immediately after the infection, most people don’t show symptoms. Women who do begin to show symptoms may display:
Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, if you believe you have trich you should be tested. Treatment is available, and involves taking an anti-parasitic regimen. We encourage you to speak with one of our staff and with your regular doctor to learn more.
Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses each affect the liver. Because they behave differently, treatment and inoculation for each of these infections vary in their availability and effectiveness.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a viral STI which attacks your immune system. If left untreated with antivirals, it will develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
If you have any questions and would like to learn more, or to arrange a free STD test near Saint Helens for chlamydia and gonorrhea, call the staff at our SE Portland or Beaverton PRC.
If your question isn’t on the list below or if you would like to talk with one of our staff to learn more, give us a call at our SE Portland or Beaverton PRC today.
Certain viral STIs such as hepatitis A, B, and HPV do have vaccines available. Many STIs are caused by bacterial infections and are therefore treatable by antibiotics.
Sexually active women should be tested when they are
Each new partner is a new risk of contracting an STI, and presents a risk of spreading any STI you have contracted to another. It is better to be tested and know than not.
Used properly, condoms can be effective in reducing the risk of spreading an STI. But even condoms are not 100% effective. The only surefire way to prevent the risk of you or a partner contracting an STI is to abstain from sexual activities. Please note that this includes all forms of sex: anal, oral, and vaginal.
That depends on the STI. Bacterial STIs and STIs caused by parasites are treatable and often curable, especially if caught early enough. Viral STIs such as herpes are more tricky at this time, which is why vaccines have been and are being developed for many of them. The prevalence of STIs in our time and the treatment of them is beginning to result in the development of antibacterial resistant strains of certain STIs, which means that preventing the spread of STIs is essential for the health of future generations.
Certain STDs may have home tests available, probably urine-based. Be sure to do your research before trusting these methods – contact the staff at one of our centers if you’d like to talk through your options.
In the vast majority of cases, no. And failing to treat a sexually transmitted infection will likely only cause greater harm down the road for yourself, as well as increasing the risk of spreading the disease to others.
This depends on how busy the lab is and the type of test we are asking to be run. Our staff will be able to give an estimate when you come in.
Yes. It is important for people to realize that the key to STI spreading is contact with the more sensitive areas of the human body – the act of vaginal sex is not required for transmission.
It is possible for certain STDs such as herpes to spread via kissing, though in general kissing is considered to be lower-risk for spreading an STD.
When dealing with something as potentially dangerous as an STI, it is essential that you don’t try to go it alone. Talk with your doctor or one of our staff to get started on the path to treating your STI properly. If you’re concerned about embarrassment, please know that our staff is here to provide judgment-free help. That’s our goal with every client interaction we have.
Tests for STDs cannot be performed online. The only thing you would be able to do via a computer would be to answer a questionnaire – which may lead you in the wrong direction. It is much better to get a formal, lab-grade test performed.
In practice, the terms sexually transmitted infection (STI) and sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be interchangeable. The difference is that not all diseases begin with infections, though many do. Infection begins when a bacteria, virus, or parasite enters the body and begins to grow/multiply. Disease occurs when the body’s normal processes are interrupted, which can take time.
Our STI tests are based on a vaginal self-swab. The nurse will give you step-by-step instructions. Most women prefer the option of collecting the specimen themselves rather than having the provider perform the vaginal swab. We offer the option of a urine based test, so if you feel uncomfortable with a vaginal swab, please let the nurse know during your appointment.
While we encourage all of our STI testing clients to make an appointment at our SE Portland or Beaverton centers prior to testing at that location, there may occasionally be same day availability for walk-in clients. In order for us to serve you in the best way possible, please call our SE or Beaverton center before coming in.
It can take days to weeks for different infections to reach the point of being able to be detected by our testing procedures. We strongly encourage our clients to wait at least 10 days after exposure before being tested.
The vaginal self-swab test which we provide at our SE Portland or Beaverton clinics itself is pretty quick to administer, but we have our clients schedule an hour-long appointment for STI testing so we can get a better understanding of where they’re at. At Pregnancy Resource Center, we strive to be personal more than efficient.
The CDC recommends that all pregnant women, sexually active women younger than 25, and women who are 25 or older and have a new sexual partner, multiple sex partners, or, a sex partner who has an STD should be tested for chlamydia & gonorrhea every year! Most women who are infected with Chlamydia and Gonorrhea have no symptoms, therefore testing is critical.
Yes, at this time PRC performs free STD testing for females only at our SE Portland and Beaverton centers.