The Importance of STI Screening Even If You Don’t Have Any Symptoms

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are something most of us don’t like to think about. But did you know that you could have an STI without feeling any symptoms? Knowledge is empowering. At Willow Womens Center, our licensed medical professionals provide unbiased information to help you make informed decisions about your health.

Stay Informed

Reported cases of STIs have increased each year since 2001. There are approximately 20 million new STI cases reported each year in the United States alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though 15-24-year-olds only make up 25% of the population that are sexually active, they account for approximately 66% of new infections each year. Many of these infections have symptoms that are hardly noticeable or even symptomless. Because of this, it is important to be tested even if you are not aware of any symptoms.

Why STI Screening?

Here are some reasons why the CDC recommends yearly STI screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea for any woman under 25 who is sexually active.

1. If you are sexually active, nothing is 100% effective against STIs.

  • You might be thinking, “But I am in a monogamous relationship.” You might be, but is your partner? The tough reality is that many people contract STIs thinking they were in mutually monogamous relationships.

  • Or, maybe you are thinking, “We use condoms every time.” It’s true that the correct use of condoms reduces the chances of getting an STI, but this is not failsafe.

2. The majority of STIs don’t have any noticeable symptoms.

It is hard to imagine that you can have an infection without symptoms, but that is exactly how hidden most STIs can be!

  • Chlamydia: Chlamydia is nicknamed the “silent” infection since most people don’t notice any symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, scar tissue in fallopian tubes, infertility, and future ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy in a blocked fallopian tube). The good news is that chlamydia is completely curable when it is diagnosed and treated with antibiotics.

  • Gonorrhea: Like chlamydia, most people infected with gonorrhea will not experience any symptoms. Untreated, it can put a person at higher risk of getting HIV and other life-threatening infections in addition to the same risks as untreated chlamydia. Gonorrhea is also curable with antibiotics.

3. There can be serious health risks if STIs are left untreated.

If an STI is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to more people becoming infected, infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), chronic pain, and cancer.

It is very important for a woman’s health to be tested for STIs before an abortion. If a woman has an abortion with an untreated STI, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and pain. For this reason, we screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea when a woman is considering abortion.

No-Cost Services Available

You can make an appointment at Willow Womens Center for our no-cost services by giving us a call at 608-312-2025. We understand the important decisions you are facing. We walk with you every step of the way, so you feel empowered to make a confident decision for your health and your future.


Delavan Pregnancy Services

An Easy Drive from Delavan to Willow Womens Center

The City of Beloit, Wisconsin, is located on the Wisconsin/Illinois state line, just southwest of Delavan. Situated near Interstate 39/90 and the I-43 interchange, the Beloit Welcome Center greets over one million tourists each year. Proud of the strength, beauty, and diversity in their community, Beloit is known for its world-class riverfront, the charming downtown, historic residential neighborhoods, and Beloit College.

Less than half an hour’s drive from Delavan, Wisconsin, 100 miles from downtown Chicago, and 70 miles from Six Flags Great America, Beloit has a population of 36,773 (2017 census), and the greater Beloit area has over 110,000. Originally named New Albany in 1837 by its founder, Caleb Blodgett, it was renamed Beloit a year later and hoped it would be reminiscent of Detroit.

In the 1870s the area had become known for its cigars with more than 100 cigar makers calling it home. Beloit is also famous for the inventions of the speedometer, Korn Kurls, and John Francis Appleby’s twine binder used in the reaping of grain.

No-Cost Pregnancy Services Available

At Willow Womens Center, we offer residents of Delavan pregnancy services, including pre-abortion screening. This type of screening includes a pregnancy test, ultrasound, and testing for STD/STIs. Pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are administered by a licensed medical staff member. An STI screening is done for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Testing for other STIs is given a referral.

No matter what town you call home – Delavan, Beloit or somewhere in between – if you are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, Willow Womens Center is here for you. We place a high value on confidentiality, a non-judgmental environment, and advocates and medical staff who are kind and compassionate.

Come for the Services, Information, Support

Pregnancy tests are most accurate when taken between 28 to 31 days after the first day of your last period and detect the hormone known as hCG. Even if you have taken a home test, we encourage you to come in for a no-cost test to confirm your results.

If your test is positive, an ultrasound can tell you how far along your pregnancy is and if it is viable. If the pregnancy develops outside the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy and requires immediate medical care.

Ultrasounds are also part of pre-abortion screening. About 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage during the first three months of pregnancy. If a miscarriage is likely to happen, there is no point in having a procedure you may not need. We provide limited ultrasounds for you at no cost so you have all the relevant data you need to make an informed decision.

We also offer limited screening for STD/STIs, which often are present without any symptoms to alert you. If you have ever had unprotected sex, you could be at risk. If you test positive for an STD/STI, we will either give you a prescription or refer you for treatment. Testing and treating an active STD/STI helps to avoid a chronic and painful experience with pelvic inflammatory disease. This is also provided at no cost to you.

No matter whether you live in Beloit or Delavan, Willow Womens Center pregnancy services are right here for you. Call us to schedule an appointment and let our caring advocates and medical staff guide and support you during this difficult time.


STD Testing: Is it Really Necessary?

No one likes to go to the doctor for tests, especially for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). That definitely crosses over into the None-of-Your-Business territory. The thing is, there are no home tests for it, so is STD testing really necessary?

In a word, yes. Yes, yes yes!

Women are less likely to get tested for STDs than men are. And, in case you wondered, STDs don’t discriminate. They don’t care who you are, where you live, how old you are, what color your skin is, or if you’re not currently having sex. If you have had sex once, you’re at risk.

Before you say, “That person didn’t look sick,” you should know that is normal. People with STDs look just like you, like your neighbor, your mom, dad, sister, best friend and anyone else you can think of. The near invisibility of STDs contributes to its spread and less overall concern than if it caused a big rash across your face or stomach. It’s much easier to deny something you can’t see.

Here are the top reasons why women put off STD testing.

You’re In Denial: Thinking there is no way possible you could have an STD is only an option if you’ve never, ever had sex. If you have, then snap out of it. Denial is not your friend and can only lead to chronic pain and infertility problems down the road.

You Have No Symptoms: Saying you have no symptoms is great on one hand, because who wants any? On the other hand, it’s like the perfect way for STDs to lie to you—give you a disease but don’t tell you about it. The thing is, it’s possible to have no symptoms and still have an STD. You can look and feel fine while inside nasty bacteria are doing untold damage. It’s better to know for sure and get treatment if you need it!

You’re Embarrassed: Too embarrassed to get tested? Why? Smart people don’t worry what others think and get tested because staying healthy is important to them.

You Don’t Think It’s Important: Some STDs are not a big deal, but others are and can cause you a lot of trouble—if not now, certainly later. Some STDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can result in chronic abdominal pain and infertility–the CDC says 24,000 women with undiagnosed STDs become infertile each year.

You Don’t Know What to Do: We know things can become confusing. To make it easy for you, follow the CDC’s recommendation and get tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. They are the most common, and we can offer you testing for these at Willow Womens Center.

You Don’t Have Insurance: This won’t be a problem for you because we test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea free of charge.

Make an Appointment

Make an appointment to come into Willow Womens Center today and one of our advocates will determine the need for an STD test! Yes, STD testing really is necessary, but we’ve got you covered and provide the testing for you confidentially and for free. We are committed to making sure women facing an unexpected pregnancy have access to all of the information and resources they need.

Make an Appointment

 

 


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.

 

Make an Appointment