STI Screening: 4 Reasons Why It Is Important
4 Important Reasons for an STI Test

You may have heard the terms STI and STD and wondered what the difference is between them. Simply stated, an STD (sexually transmitted disease) is a later stage of an STI (sexually transmitted infection). A person has symptoms with an STD, but STIs are often symptomless.

Who Needs STI Screening?

If you are considering abortion for an unexpected pregnancy, STI screening is crucial. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following testing guidelines for chlamydia and gonorrhea:

  • All sexually active women younger than 25 years should be tested every year.
  • Women 25 years and older with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STD should also be tested every year.
  • At-risk pregnant women should be tested starting early in pregnancy.
  • All sexually active gay and bisexual men should be tested at least once a year.

Now that you know who needs STI screening, let’s examine why it is important.

4 Reasons Why STI Screening Is Important

1. STIs are common.

If you are sexually active, it is possible to contract an STI, even if you have only had one partner and use a condom. The CDC reports 20 million new STIs each year.

2. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are usually symptomless.

You can’t count on symptoms to alert you that you might have an STI because the most common STIs are often symptomless. Chlamydia is known as the “silent infection.” Most women do not have symptoms with gonorrhea either, and if they do, they often mistake them for a bladder or vaginal infection.

3. STI screening is easy, accessible, and quick.

STI screening only requires a urine sample. At Willow Womens Center, we offer the only free STI screening for women and men in Rock County.

What happens at an STI screening appointment at Willow Womens Center?

We provide STI services because we care for you and your health. When you come to Willow Womens Center for STI screening, you will be treated with respect and never judged for your sexual history. Your appointment is confidential.

  • Arrive at your appointment, and do not urinate (pee) for about an hour beforehand.
  • After a brief intake, you will be asked to provide a urine sample.
  • A licensed, registered nurse will provide you education about gonorrhea and chlamydia, the two STIs that are screened.
  • We will offer you an appointment in about one week for your test results.
  • If your test result is positive for chlamydia, we will give you a prescription to fill. Be sure to take the medication as directed until it is gone — even if your symptoms go away.
  • If your test result is positive for gonorrhea, we will give you a referral for treatment.
  • The state requires the testing company to report all positive test results to the public health department.
  • If your test result is positive, we recommend you get retested in three months to ensure that your treatment was effective.
  • The entire appointment is quick, lasting less than thirty minutes.

4. Early STI detection and treatment can preserve future fertility.

Untreated STIs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), scarring, and cause infertility (inability to get pregnant) for men and women.  

Free Testing Is Available to Women and Men

Willow Womens Center is here for you. Take charge of your health and make your confidential STI screening appointment today by calling 608-312-2025 or use our online scheduler.

Understanding Pregnancy Ultrasounds

A pregnancy ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images your healthcare providers can view on a computer monitor to give them information about your pregnancy. You might be wondering why a pregnancy ultrasound is necessary if you have not yet made a decision about your unexpected pregnancy. Ultrasound is beneficial because the images provide your medical team with important data, and this knowledge can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

Pregnancy ultrasounds include transabdominal, transvaginal, Level 2, 3D, doppler, and fetal echocardiography ultrasounds.

After a positive pregnancy test, you will likely receive:

Transabdominal ultrasound

Gel is placed on your abdomen, and a roller-like device (transducer) is moved over the gel on your abdomen. The transducer picks up soundwaves that produce images onto a computer screen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

A special, smaller transducer probe is lubricated with gel and gently placed into your vagina to obtain images. Transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily in early pregnancy.

Ways a Pregnancy Ultrasound Is Useful

To Determine Pregnancy Viability

Even if you have already decided upon abortion, you will need to know if your pregnancy is viable. A positive pregnancy test result tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine. However, it does not mean you have a viable pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage: 80% of those occur in the first trimester — or the first twelve weeks. So, after a positive pregnancy test result, you will need to confirm your pregnancy is viable by ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to continue and result in childbirth (if no other steps are taken).

If no fetal heartbeat is detected, you would not need an abortion but would be referred for medical treatment instead.

The location of your pregnancy also impacts viability. If your healthcare provider detects a heartbeat by ultrasound, but the pregnancy is located outside of your uterus (i.e., in the fallopian tube), your pregnancy is also not viable. An ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy implanted in the fallopian tube, is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

The fetal heart rate also impacts the viability of your pregnancy. Research reveals that if an ultrasound detects a very low heart rate, called embryonic bradycardia, the rate of miscarriage is significantly higher. If embryonic bradycardia is identified during your ultrasound appointment, you will likely be asked to return in about a week to repeat the test.

To Determine How Far Along You Are in Your Pregnancy

An ultrasound can accurately measure how many weeks pregnant you are. You can’t count on using only menstrual dates for accuracy because many women experience period-like bleeding while they are pregnant.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are still gathering information about how you will proceed, you will need to know how far along you are because your options will partly depend on that.

To Determine If You Have a Single Pregnancy or Multiple Pregnancy

An ultrasound can also give you a valuable indication that you might be carrying a single or multiple pregnancy.

Get the Answers You Deserve

If you have had a positive home pregnancy test or think you might be pregnant, contact our compassionate team at Willow Womens Center. We provide licensed professional medical care, including pregnancy testing and ultrasounds at no cost to you. Reach out today by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.

There Are so Many Different Pregnancy Tests! What’s the Difference?

You are wondering if you could be pregnant, so you go to the drugstore to pick up an at-home pregnancy test. But when you get there, it is overwhelming. There are so many to choose from! You do not want to waste money and buy one that is not accurate and then have to purchase another one. How can you tell which ones are best? In this article, we will discuss features of various at-home pregnancy tests and their accuracy so you can choose the best one for you.

Pregnancy Test Features

At-home pregnancy tests are designed to detect whether or not there is human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.

Most women want tests that can give them test results early, quickly, and accurately. Some features to  consider when choosing a home pregnancy test are listed below:

Pregnancy Test Strips

Some pregnancy tests are so basic they are sold in packages of 10-50 at a time. They are merely testing strips without any plastic covering. To test, you would urinate into a cup, dip the test strip into the urine, and then lay the strip on a flat surface until it is ready to be read. The results display will reveal a small “control pad” and a “result pad.” A line will appear on the result pad if your test is positive. Pregnancy test strips are the least expensive option, particularly if you need to test often.

Non-Digital Pregnancy Test Sticks

Pregnancy test sticks are similar to strips except that the tests are housed in plastic so you can hold the stick directly under a urine stream. Like pregnancy strip tests, the result window will display a line if you are pregnant. The common complaint about non-digital test sticks is that the results can be difficult to read, especially if the levels of hCG are low.

You can usually purchase them in packages of one to five tests so you can retest if you need to.

Digital Pregnancy Tests

Digital pregnancy tests display a clearly written “pregnant” or “not pregnant” answer in the result window. This takes away the uncertainty that can accompany a non-digital test as you try to discern if you see a faint positive line.

Digital pregnancy tests are most accurate because they reduce human error. They usually cost a little more than non-digital tests.

Early Pregnancy Tests

Some at-home pregnancy tests are “early pregnancy tests” because they can detect hCG in your urine up to six days before you miss your period.

To get the most accurate result, test with first-morning urine or concentrated urine, so the hCG levels are easier to detect if you are pregnant.

There are drawbacks to testing that early, though.

One – they can detect chemical pregnancies. A chemical pregnancy is a pregnancy that miscarries just after implantation. Many women never know they were pregnant when they experience them. However, now that at-home pregnancy tests can detect the pregnancy hormone so early, they can cause unnecessary anxiety and grief for women.

Two – early pregnancy tests have a higher rate of false-negative results because it is too early to detect the hCG hormone. You can usually purchase early pregnancy tests in multiples because of the higher chance you will need to retest after a false negative result.

There are many different brands of pregnancy tests to choose from and it could be overwhelming. Willow Womens Center can give you a definitive answer with our free pregnancy-related services. Since all tests are most accurate after you have missed your period, we suggest waiting until a few days after your missed period to schedule your appointment by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.

Get the Answers You Need

If your at-home pregnancy test was positive, or you just think you might be pregnant, contact Willow Womens Center by calling 608-312-2025 for a confidential appointment. Our caring support team will help you consider all your options, so you can make the informed decision that is right for you.

Unexpected Pregnancy Advice: Can I Get Through This?

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Cayla Mills

You have plans for your life, and an unexpected pregnancy is not one of them. Yet, it is interesting how life has a way of surprising us with unforeseen detours that ultimately teach us more about our strength and resilience than if everything fell into place according to our plans. We can even experience great joy from life’s unexpected plans.

After the shock of learning you are pregnant wears off, you begin to think about what to do next. Like most women, you may ask yourself, “Can I get through this?” The short answer is, yes. Yes, you can get through this!

Here is some unexpected pregnancy advice to empower you and encourage you that you are going to be okay.

Keep Positive People Close

You already have fears going through your mind, so the last thing you need is people around you who are adding to your worries.  It is not mean to set boundaries to protect your emotional health right now. In fact, it is good for you.

Do not listen to anyone who has an agenda for you. This includes anyone who wants you to make one decision over another about your pregnancy. You are the one who will live with the outcome of whatever your choice is for the rest of your life, so your decision needs to be the choice that is best for you, not someone else. Be very strong about this. You can do it.

Choose Positive Thoughts

Neuroscience research repeatedly reveals that our thoughts create new neural pathways in our brains. In other words, our positive thoughts rewire our brains to think positively and stimulate positive feelings. In the same way, our negative thoughts rewire our brains to think negatively and stimulate negative feelings.

Choosing positive thoughts will help you cope with an unexpected pregnancy. So instead of asking yourself, “How could I let this happen?” or telling yourself that all your plans are ruined, ask yourself what you can do to stay healthy, and focus on the one next step.

Take One Step at a Time

Before you start thinking about next year or five years down the road, try to only think about your one next step. Our advice for this next step is to get unbiased and experienced pregnancy support. The trained staff at Willow Womens Center can help you understand your pregnancy options. We will provide you with all the facts you need to make a well-informed decision. After your visit – take a deep breath and allow yourself some time to process each possible option.

Pregnancy Support Is Available

If you choose to parent, Willow Womens Center offers a Parenting with Love and Logic® Program to equip you with the skills you need. Stay tuned to find out more about the new Mentoring Program we will be launching in the Spring 2020 – this will be geared toward women who are experiencing their first pregnancy. For those who choose abortion, Willow Womens Center offers a post-abortion recovery program if you are struggling with your emotions afterwards. If adoption is your best choice, we can help you connect with different adoption agencies!

Contact us online today for a confidential appointment or by calling 608-312-2025.

What Happens If I Test Positive for an STD?

If you have made the decision to be tested for a STD or STI, the wait between testing and receiving your results can feel long. You might be wondering what happens next if the test results are positive.

Willow Womens Center will walk you through your next steps if your STD test results are positive. We will discuss some of them here.

You Will Receive Treatment

We test you for chlamydia and gonorrhea at no charge in a confidential, judgment-free environment. You might be very surprised if your test results are positive, particularly if you don’t have symptoms. However, treatment of an active infection is still very important. The good news is that both of these infections are treatable.

If you test positive for chlamydia, Willow Womens Center will provide you with a prescription for an antibiotic. If you test positive for gonorrhea, our medical staff will advise you to seek immediate medical attention with a licensed physician.
By law, both of these infections will be reported to the local Public Health Department by the testing lab.

Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause serious health risks in women particularly. These risks can include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, pain, and more, so be sure to protect yourself with prompt treatment.

Contact Partners

If one of your past or current partners tested positive for an STD, would you want to know? How would you feel in the future if you were experiencing side effects of an undiagnosed and untreated STD? How would you feel if you knew that if someone had not withheld information from you about their positive STD results, you would not be facing these problems?

As uncomfortable as the thought sounds, a crucial next step is to contact past and current sexual partners, so they can be tested and treated if necessary. This protects their health and prevents the infection from spreading further. It also prevents the STD from spreading back to you from an infected current partner.

Sometimes, testing positive for an STD stirs up strong reactions and causes relationship conflicts. It is easy for either partner to assume infidelity and mistrust in the other. However, before making assumptions, it is important to remember that STDs can linger for long period of time without symptoms, so someone can have an infection for many years without knowing it. Our licensed medical professionals are available to answer questions and help guide you through these conversations. Here are helpful tips to talk to partners about STDs.

We understand how awkward this step can be, but according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are 20 million new STD cases each year in the United States, so many people are having these conversations. You can do it too!

Make an Appointment Today

We are committed to providing you compassionate, confidential services at no cost. You will be empowered with accurate facts so you can make informed decisions about your health and pregnancy. You can make an appointment at Willow Womens Center by calling 608-312-2025.