STI Screenings: Why It’s Important

If you just found out you are unexpectedly pregnant, a lot of things will be going through your mind, right along with fear, panic and a feeling that nothing will be the same again. That is understandable and knowing you have some decisions to make may only add to the anxiety.

If you decided to get an abortion, or are thinking about it, you need to know about STI screenings and why they are important. Before you brush it off, thinking you can’t possibly have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you should know that there are a lot of women out there who have said the same thing and still ended up with positive test results.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions, “Many STIs are ‘silent,’ or have no symptoms, so you may not know if you are infected.”

Consider the Statistics

According to the American Sexual Health Association, “One in two sexually active persons will contract an STI by age 25. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 20 million new STIs occur every year in this country, half of those among young people aged 15–24. Even though young people account for half of new STI cases, a recent survey showed only about 12 percent were tested for STIs in the last year. The CDC estimates that undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.”

“In 2015, rates of the three most common reportable STIs — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — reached a record high level. The approximately 1.5 million reported cases of chlamydia represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC…In women, undiagnosed and untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). According to the CDC, one in eight women with a history of PID experience difficulties getting pregnant.”

In addition, PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, a condition that increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies cannot proceed normally and may cause life-threatening complications.

Pre-Abortion Screening

Women seeking abortions are not routinely tested for STIs. At Willow Womens Center, we offer this testing to help women avoid serious health problems in the future.

The process is simple and straightforward. Make an appointment to come in for testing. During your visit one of our licensed medical staff members will administer a no-cost pregnancy test. Some home tests are not reliable and this will confirm if you are pregnant.

If the test is positive, an ultrasound is done at no cost to you. This test uses sound waves to form an image and will tell you if the pregnancy is viable, if it’s ectopic, and will determine how far along your pregnancy is. This is an important step because 20 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage and 80 percent of miscarriages happen in the first 13 weeks.

Once the ultrasound is completed, we will test for two STIs, chlamydia and gonorrhea, at no charge to you. If test results are positive, we do provide a prescription for the treatment of chlamydia and we give referrals for treatment of gonorrhea.

Our patient care team consists of licensed medical professionals and advocates specializing in serving women who face unplanned pregnancies and understand the personal nature of pregnancy and abortion decisions. We will carefully listen to your needs and help you walk through all of your options, so you can be confident in your decision. Contact us today.

 

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