Archive for syphilis

I had unprotected sex with a boy, but the next day two of my friends said I should get myself checked out. What happens when you go to check for STDs?

…What do the doctors do?

This is a really great and important question!

When testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, someone has to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested. If someone did contract Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it will only show an accurate result 14 days after exposure. To test for these STIs, someone will usually urinate in a cup. The lab will be able to test the urine for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea and you will get results within 1-2 weeks.

When testing for Syphilis or HIV, the usual time period that you have to wait is 3 months. After 3 months, someone will receive an accurate result. To test for these STIs, someone will usually have their blood drawn. The lab will test the blood and you will get results within 1-2 weeks. Boulder Teen Clinic also offers rapid HIV testing the first two Tuesdays of every month with the help of BCAP (Boulder County AIDS Project). During the rapid testing, someone will have their finger pricked and will know within 10 Minutes if they have HIV antibodies.

With other STIs like HPV, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, or Pubic Lice, you cannot test for the infection until you experience symptoms. Once you have symptoms, there are various tests that can be performed to confirm the presence of the infection. These tests could include but are not limited to visual tests or testing of discharge.

If you, or someone you know, believe you have an STI, abstain from any sexual contact until you can see a medical professional. You can also call Teen Clinic at 303-442-5160 to make an appointment or to talk with one of our medical professionals!

Check out this question for more information on how to prevent STIs!

How soon can I get tested for STIs after unprotected sex? I believe there’s a window, can you please give me more info?

This is a really great and important question!

The time frame for when someone can get tested for STIs (sexually transmitted infections) really depends on which STI we’re talking about.

When testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, someone has to wait at least 2 weeks before getting tested. If someone did contract Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, it will only show an accurate result 14 days after exposure.

When testing for Syphilis or HIV, the usual time period that you have to wait is 3 months. After 3 months, someone will receive an accurate result.

With other STIs like HPV, Trichomoniasis, Herpes, or Pubic Lice, you cannot test for the infection until you experience symptoms. Once you have symptoms, there are tests that can be performed to confirm the presence of the infection.

If you, or someone you now, believe you have an STI, abstain from any sexual contact until you can see a medical professional. You can also call Teen Clinic at 303-442-5160 to make an appointment or to talk with one of our medical professionals!

If my boyfriend and I have only had sex with each other, is it possible for either of us to have STIs?

It’s highly unlikely.  In order to get an infection, a person has to have sexual contact with someone who is already infected.  If you haven’t come into contact with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection, you probably don’t have one!

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Some infections that we consider STIs can be spread non-sexually. Bloodborne diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B & C, and Syphilis are often transmitted through IV drug use. If someone has used needle drugs, it’s possible they have an STI, even if they haven’t been sexually active.

Pubic lice, also known as crabs, can also be transmitted non-sexually. Pubic lice can live for up to twenty-four hours outside the body in warm, dark, moist places like bathtowels, bed sheets, loofahs, or wet bathing suits. If a person shares these items with someone else, lice transmission is possible.

Does that mean it’s a good idea to have sex without a condom? No way. The only 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy is abstinence. Although hormonal methods can be more than 99% effective when used perfectly, it’s still a good idea to use a condom as a backup.  Besides—although we always want to trust our partners, occasionally people do not share the truth about their sexual health history. Staying in the habit of using a condom is a great way to keep yourself safe every time.

Can drugs (like x, coke, etc.) affect the effectiveness of the birth control pill?

What a great question! On a chemical level, no: ecstasy, cocaine, and similar drugs have not been found to decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. (Some prescription drugs and herbs do, though, so be sure your healthcare providers know what you’re taking.)  If you’re taking your pills correctly and all the time, they’re more than 99% likely to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, even if you have recreational drugs in your system.

However, drug use can affect your sexual health choices in other ways.  It’s well-documented that those under the influence are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, increasing the risk of STI transmission. Being drunk or high can also negatively affect a person’s communication, decreasing their ability to set boundaries, read a partner’s reactions, and give or withdraw their consent. They may not be able to look out for their friends or themselves. And depending upon when the drug use occurs, it’s possible they’ll forget to take their birth control pill on time after all.

Keep in mind, too, that IV drug users face higher rates of bloodborne STI transmission than the general population. HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B & C are easy to transmit when people share needles.  If you are currently an IV drug user, Teen Clinic recommends getting tested for bloodborne infections regularly.

So will using recreational drugs affect your birth control pill’s effectiveness? Not directly. But it’s important to recognize that drug use can negatively affect your sexual health. Want to learn more?  Make an appointment to talk to a practitioner at Teen Clinic.