PHOENIX FIT HEALTH CARE CLINIC – STDs/STIs

Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections (STDs/STIs) are some of the most commonly transmitted infections in the United States and across the world. Many STIs are curable, while others are not. An infection with an STI can lead to increased stress, health problems, and emotional trauma. Here at FIT Health Care Clinic, we believe that people should seek prompt medical attention for any symptoms or concerns. Most individuals can overcome the impact of having an infection with proper education, diagnosis and treatment.

In partnership with the public health department, we are offer the "The County Test" for $40 which includes STD evaluation and testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV and Syphilis. And includes medications for the treatment of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis (as needed).

Call Now For An Appointment or More Info: 602.279.5049 MON–FRI (see hours at top of page).

You Need to Know About STDs/STIs

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Long term undetected infection with Chlamydia can eventually damage reproductive organs. Chlamydia is usually spread through vaginal, oral, or anal contact with someone who is already infected.

A person might not have symptoms of infection. Men can sometimes have a white or clear water discharge from the penis. Women might notice more discharge or odors coming from the vagina. It may also burn or hurt to urinate. Both men and women might have complaints of lower abdominal pain. You will want a Chlamydia test 1-3 weeks after a perceived exposure.

Chlamydia infects the cervical cells in women and can cause spasms and cramping, low back pain, fever, nausea or pain during intercourse. Men will sometimes notice burning or itching around the tip of their meatus. Untreated Chlamydia can lead to sterility in both sexes and can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women, which can create irreversible damage to the uterus and surrounding tissue. You are at a higher risk of acquiring HIV if infected with ChlamydiaÑthe irritated and damaged tissue allows an easy passageway for HIV to be transmitted.

Chlamydia screening is recommended once a year in healthy adults and FITÕs recommendation is screening every 3 months for sexually active individuals. We collect a urine sample to check for Chlamydia (oral and rectal testing is currently only available to males).

If you are given medicine to take for the Chlamydia infection, abstain from sex for one week after completion of taking the medications. We recommend that you notify all partners of your infection and we can treat them at FIT Health Care as well.

To help prevent transmission and infection of Chlamydia, we recommend using latex condoms (or polyurethane condoms if you have a latex allergy). Again, abstain from sex for at least a week after completing the round of medications to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium rapidly reproduces in warm, moist environments, such as the urethral tract and reproductive organs. Other common sites for infections include the throat, eyes, and anus.

Symptoms typically include a green or yellowish discharge from the penis, vagina, or anus. Pain with urination is common and cramping, colicky spasms can be frequently noticed. In women, gonorrhea infections can be mistaken for vaginal or bladder infections and often misdiagnosed. You will notice these symptoms as early as 2-3 days after infection, to as late as 2-4 weeks after exposure and sometimes longer. You will want a gonorrhea test 3-10 days after a perceived exposure.

Throat infections with gonorrhea are often overlooked as well and mistaken for strep throat or simple pharyngitis. Rectal infections with gonorrhea are becoming more common, as people engage in sexual activities. A simple culture of the areas with a swab can often pick up the bacterial infection and medications can cure the infection completely. Untreated infections with gonorrhea can cause sterility in both sexes, damage to heart tissue, and irritation and damage to reproductive organs and tissue.

Gonorrhea screening is recommended once a year in healthy adults and FIT's recommendation is screening every 3 months for sexually active individuals. We collect a urine sample to check for Gonorrhea, or swab for throat or rectal testing.(throat and rectal testing is currently only available to males).

If you are given medicine to take for the Gonorrhea infection, FIT recommends that you abstain from sex and alcohol 7 to 10 days after completion of taking the medications. We recommend that you notify all partners of your infection and we can treat them at FIT Health Care as well. Only have sex with sex with prior partners who you know to have been tested and treated to avoid reinfection.

To help prevent transmission and infection of Gonorrhea, we recommend using latex condoms (or polyurethane condoms if you have a latex allergy). Again, abstain from sex for at least 7 to 10 days after completing the round of medications to help prevent the spread of the bacterial infection also known as an STI .

Hepatitus

Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are distinct diseases that affect the liver. Each type of hepatitis has different hepatitis symptoms and causes. Treatments for hepatitis also depend on the type.

Hepatitis A (hep A) is a viral infection of the liver that can make you feel like you have the flu. It does not lead to chonic (long-term) infection. Once you have had hepatitus A you cannot get it again. Adults will have signs and symptoms more often than children. About 15% of people infected with HAV will have prolonged or relapsing symptoms over a 6-9 month period.

Symptoms can include: jaundice, fatique, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, light stool, nausea, diarrhea, fever and dark urine. The incubation period is 2–7 weeks, and averages 4 weeks.

HAV is usually spread from person to person by putting something in the mouth (even though it may look clean) that has been contaminated with the stool (feces) from a person with hepatitus A. Another route of transmission is from eating contaminated food and water. Risk of infection is high in households with infected persons, sex partners of intected persons (especially persons with children), persons traveling to countries where hepatitus A is common, men who have sex with men, and drug users either injecting or non-injecting.

The best protection is the Hepatitus A vaccine. Short-term protection is available from immune globulin and can be given before and within 2 weeks after coming in contact with HAV. Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing and eating food.

The vaccine is recommended for persons 12 months and older: men who have sex with men, injecting and non-injecting drug users, persons with clotting-factor disorders (e.g. hemophilia), persons with chronic liver disease, and children living in areas with increased rates of hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. The virus can cause liver cell damage, leading to cirrhosis and cancer, and has an incubation period of 6–23 weeks averaging 17 weeks. The symptoms include jaundice, fatique, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and joint pain.

Transmission occurs when blood from and infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. HBV is spread through having sex with an infected person without using a condom (the efficacy of latex condoms in preventing infection with HBV is unknown, but their proper use may reduce transmission); by sharing drugs, needles, or "works" when "shooting" drugs; through needle-sticks or sharps exposures on the job, or from and infected mother to her baby during birth. Transmission can also occur with contact with infected blood, seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, as well as through tattoo and body piercing tools.

Persons at risk for HBV infection might also be at risk for infection with hepatitis C (HCV) or HIV. Chronic infection occurs in 90% of infants infected at birth, 30% of children infected at age 1–5 years, and 6% of persons infected after age 5. Death from chronic liver disease occurs in 15–25% of chronically infected persons.

Hepatitis B vaccine is the best protection. If you are having sex, but not with one steady partner, use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex. If you are pregnant, you should get a blood test of hepatitis B, infants born to HBV-infected mothers should be given HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) and vaccine within 12 hours after birth. Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes). Consider the risks if you are thinking of getting a tattoo or body piercing.

If you have or had hepatitus B, do not donate blood, organs or tissue. If you are a healthcare or public safety worker, get vaccinated against hepatitis B, and always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other sharps.

HBV infected persons should be evaluated by their doctors for liver disease. Adefovir dipivoxil, interferon alfa-2b, pegylated interferon alfa-2a, lamivudine, and entecavir are 5 drugs used for the treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis B. These drugs should not be used by pregnant women. Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver, and can lead to cirrhosis and cancer. 80% of persons infected will have no signs or symptoms. Symptoms include: jaundice, fatique, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and nausea. The incubation period is 2–25 weeks, average 7–9 weeks.

Transmission occurs when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. HCV is spread through sharing needles or "works" when "shooting" drugs, through needle-sticks and sharps exposures on the job, or from an infected mother to her baby during birth.

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Do not shoot drugs, if you shoot drugs, stop and get into a treatment program. If you can't stop, never share needles, syringes, water, or "works" and get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B. Do not share personal care items that might have blood on them (razors, toothbrushes). If you are a healthcare or public safety worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and sharps, and get vaccinated against hepatitis B. Consider the risks if you are considering getting a tattoo or body piercing. HCV can be spread by sex, but this is rare. If you are having sex with more than one steady sex partner, use latex condoms correctly and and every time to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are HCV positive, do not donate blood, organs or tissue.

HCV positive persons should be evaluated by their doctors for liver disease. Interferon and ribavirin are 2 drugs licensed for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Interferon can be taken alone or in combination with ribavirin. Combination therapy, using pegylated interferon and ribavirin, is currently the treatment of choice, and can get rid of the virus in up to 5 out of 10 persons for genotype 1 and in up to 8 out of 10 persons for genotype 2 and 3. Drinking alcohol can make your liver disease worse.

Herpes

Herpes is a virus stemming from infection by the Herpes Simplex Virus, Types 1 and 2 and is generally considered a lifelong infection. Infection with type 1 herpes generally involves the oral mucosa (cold sores), while type 2 herpes can be found in the genital region. Herpes is usually passed during sexual activity (oral, genital or anal) with someone who has herpes.

Most of the time, an infection with herpes is obvious, however, the virus has been known to shed and be infectious without obvious signs of an outbreak. Herpes outbreaks can occur as much as 6 or more times within a year, or a person may have one outbreak in their lifetime. Some people are not even aware that they have a herpes infection.

Herpes generally causes small, painful sores around the oral, genital and anal mucosa, but can also affect the surrounding tissue and cause itching or discharge. A herpes sore can appear as quickly as 2-5 days after infection, must will generally be seen in 2-4 weeks after infection. A definite diagnosis for herpes involves swabbing and culturing the area. Blood tests are specific for the body's response to infection, but may not necessarily indicate active or current infection. FIT Health Care recommends getting the Herpes Blood Panel if there are no current lesions to culture.

An active infectious herpes lesion makes you more at risk of acquiring HIV, related to the irritation and breakdown of the skin at the affected site. Condoms will help protect in the transmission of the herpes virus, but if there is skin that is infectious and not covered with a barrier, the virus can be transmitted.

Herpes is not curable, yet there are medications that can help treat current outbreaks and suppress the virus to prevent future outbreaks. FIT Health Care can provide you with many options and choices in determining your needs for management of this condition.

HIV-AIDS

HIV/AIDS The virus that causes AIDS is called the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and can be passed among persons from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. HIV does not survive well outside of the body and generally, environmental transmissions are remote.

Some symptoms of acute infection with HIV include fever, night sweats, profound weight loss, swollen lymph glands, dry cough or prolonged diarrhea. There are people infected with HIV that are not aware of their infection and may not be symptomatic. HIV passes into the body from a point of susceptibility that may include veins, mucous membranes, cuts or sores. The risk of transmission of HIV through blood transfusions or blood products has significantly reduced over the years because of widespread testing of blood products.

There is no cure for HIV but there are medications that make it possible for people to live full, long lives. The most common form of testing is through the Elisa (or antibody) test. This test is very accurate for HIV detection, however there is a window period of anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months for the body to create the antibodies for the Elisa to detect. FIT Health Care recommends the HIV PCR-DNA blood test in as early as 2 weeks from a perceived exposure. This test examines the blood for the specific DNA of HIV infection.

FIT Health Care has a numerous amount of resources available for referrals to HIV/AIDS agencies and we also are able to provide health care services for individuals infected with HIV.

Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called "the great imitator" because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases. You can be infected by having sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) with someone who has syphilis. It can be cured with the right medicine. Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, vagina, anus, or in the rectum. Sores also can occur on the lips and in the mouth. Transmission of the organism occurs during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Pregnant women with the disease can pass it to the babies they are carrying. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils.

A sore can appear on or around your penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. You may see it one week to three months after sex with someone who has syphilis. The sore does not hurt. Many people don't see or feel it all. The sore goes away by itself in a few weeks. But you are not cured. A few months later, you may get a rash, fever, sore throat, or hair loss. These problems will also go away. But syphilis stays in your body until you get treated.

Many people infected with syphilis do not have any symptoms for years, yet remain at risk for late complications if they are not treated. Although transmission appears to occur from persons with sores who are in the primary or secondary stage, many of these sores are unrecognized. Thus, most transmission is from persons who are unaware of their infection.

Primary Stage: The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore (called a chancre), but there may be multiple sores. The time between infection with syphilis and the start of the first symptom can range from 10 to 90 days (average 21 days). The chancre is usually firm, round, small, and painless. It appears at the spot where syphilis entered the body. The chancre lasts 3 to 6 weeks, and it heals without treatment. However, if adequate treatment is not administered, the infection progresses to the secondary stage.

Secondary Stage: Skin rash and mucous membrane lesions characterize the secondary stage. This stage typically starts with the development of a rash on one or more areas of the body. The rash usually does not cause itching. Rashes associated with secondary syphilis can appear as the chancre is healing or several weeks after the chancre has healed. The characteristic rash of secondary syphilis may appear as rough, red, or reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. However, rashes with a different appearance may occur on other parts of the body, sometimes resembling rashes caused by other diseases. Sometimes rashes associated with secondary syphilis are so faint that they are not noticed. In addition to rashes, symptoms of secondary syphilis may include fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and fatigue. The signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis will resolve with or without treatment, but without treatment, the infection will progress to the latent and late stages of disease.

Late Stage: The latent (hidden) stage of syphilis begins when secondary symptoms disappear. Without treatment, the infected person will continue to have syphilis even though there are no signs or symptoms; infection remains in the body. In the late stages of syphilis, it may subsequently damage the internal organs, including the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. This internal damage may show up many years later. Signs and symptoms of the late stage of syphilis include difficulty coordinating muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia. This damage may be serious enough to cause death.

Syphilis is easy to cure in its early stages. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin, an antibiotic, will cure a person who has had syphilis for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year. For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available to treat syphilis. There are no home remedies or over-the-counter drugs that will cure syphilis. Treatment will kill the syphilis bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.

Because effective treatment is available, it is important that persons be screened for syphilis on an on-going basis if their sexual behaviors put them at risk for STIs. Persons who receive syphilis treatment must abstain from sexual contact with new partners until the syphilis sores are completely healed. Persons with syphilis must notify their sex partners so that they also can be tested and receive treatment if necessary.

Syphilis is a serious disease. It can cause heart, blood vessel, and brain damage, blindness and even death. If you are pregnant, you baby can be born dead or with birth defects.

Avoiding alcohol and drug use may also help prevent transmission of syphilis because these activities may lead to risky sexual behavior. It is important that sex partners talk to each other about their HIV status and history of other STIs so that preventive action can be taken. Genital ulcer diseases, like syphilis, can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of syphilis, as well as genital herpes and chancroid, only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected. Condoms lubricated with spermicides (especially Nonoxynol-9 or N-9) are no more effective than other lubricated condoms in protecting against the transmission of STDs. Based on findings from several research studies, N-9 may itself cause genital lesions, providing a point of entry for HIV and other STIs. In June 2001, the CDC recommended that N-9 not be used as a microbicide or lubricant during anal intercourse. Transmission of a STI, including syphilis cannot be prevented by washing the genitals, urinating, and or douching after sex. Any unusual discharge, sore, or rash, particularly in the groin area, should be a signal to refrain from having sex and to see a healthcare provider immediately.