We offer free STI & HIV screening for our clients. Schedule an appointment by calling one of our locations near you. An appointment will be scheduled with a registered nurse for your chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV screening.

*We provide same-day HIV results.

The Facts about STI's

The Basics

There are now dozens of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections, also known as STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases), several of which are chronic, life-long infections. STIs are very common and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 20 million new infections occur every year in the United States; half of those occur in young people, ages 15-24. It is estimated that 1 in 4 sexually active adolescent females has an STI.

STI's: What Are They?

An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) is an infection that is usually contracted from another infected person through sexual activity. It’s important to remember that not all infected people will have signs or symptoms. The problem is that some of these STIs can cause lots of damage and can be passed to your partner without your knowledge. You do not have to have symptoms to be contagious; you can spread the disease at any time.

STI Prevention

Did you know that some STIs can be spread through all forms of sex and/or intimate skin-to-skin contact (oral sex, outercourse, anal sex, mutual masturbation)? Condom use cannot provide absolute protection against any STI. Using a condom during sex can sometimes reduce the risk for transmitting or contracting certain STIs, but using a condom never eliminates the risk entirely.

Consistent condom use (100% correctly, 100% of the time) during vaginal sex may provide different levels of protection for various STIs, depending on differences in how the diseases or infections are transmitted. Condoms may not cover all infected areas or areas that could become infected. 

Sexual Risk Avoidance is the only 100% guarantee you have to avoid pregnancy and to avoid contracting an STI. If you feel that you are not ready to have sex, or if you do not want to put yourself at risk for pregnancy or an STI, then abstinence is your best choice.

Facts About HIV

What is HIV? 

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. (source -CDC)

The only way to know if you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.

Some people may experience a flu-like illness within 2 to 4 weeks after infection, but some may not feel sick at all, which is why testing for HIV is so important. Some of the symptoms experienced during the initial infection may include:

  • fever

  • chills

  • rash

  • night sweats

  • muscle aches

  • sore throat

  • fatigue

  • swollen lymph nodes

  • mouth ulcers

Cannot Assume

However, no one should assume they are infected if they have any of these symptoms. Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. Again, the only way to determine whether you are infected is to be tested for HIV infection.

This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Facts About Chlamydia

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a very common STI caused by the bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis. It is the most frequently reported bacterial infection in the United States. The CDC reports 1.6 million cases occur annually (2016) and that number is rising. 63% of the cases of Chlamydia occur in people aged 15-24.

Who Can be Infected with Chlamydia?

Chlamydia can affect both men and women at any time regardless of age. It is spread through body fluids during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected person. Ejaculation does not have to occur to get chlamydia. Condoms offer a measure of protection against Chlamydia, but even with protection you can still contract the infection.  

Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men who have oral sex with an infected partner.

If you’ve had chlamydia in the past and been treated, you can still get infected again. 

Chlamydia can be passed to your baby during childbirth, which can then cause an eye infection or pneumonia in your baby. There is also a higher risk of delivering your baby too early if you have chlamydia.

Possible Effects of Chlamydia

In both men and women, chlamydia can cause discharge and painful urination.

The damage done by chlamydia is often discovered years later when previously infected women try to become pregnant and are unable to do so.

Chlamydia is a common STI caused by the bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis. It can cause permanent and lasting damage to a woman's reproductive organs (uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries) if left untreated. It is the most frequently reported bacterial STI in the United States. Often Chlamydia shows no signs or symptoms, yet can cause irreversible damage.

This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Facts About Gonorrhea

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a very common STI caused by the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 820,000 people in the U.S. develop a new gonorrhea infection each year and that 570,000 occur in young people 15-24 years of age. N. gonorrhoeae infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and the urethra in men & women. N. gonorrhoeae can also infect the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, eyes and rectum. (Source-CDC)

How Does It Spread?

Gonorrhea can be spread through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth or anus of an infected partner, and mother to baby during childbirth. Ejaculation does not have to occur in order for it to be transmitted or acquired.

People who have had gonorrhea in the past and been treated can be reinfected if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.

Possible Symptoms

Not all people who contract gonorrhea experience symptoms, but an infection can cause serious complications. Men may experience symptoms such as: burning sensation while urinating, white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, and sometimes pain and swelling in the testicles. Some signs of gonorrhea in women may be: discomfort or burning while urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and bleeding between periods.

“In the United States, people who get syphilis, gonorrhea, and herpes often also have HIV or are more likely to get HIV in the future 1-3. One reason is the behaviors that put someone at risk for one infection (not using condoms, multiple partners, anonymous partners) often put them at risk for other infections. Also, because STD and HIV tend to be linked, when someone gets an STD it suggests they got it from someone who may be at risk for other STD and HIV. Finally, a sore or inflammation from an STD may allow infection with HIV that would have been stopped by intact skin.” https://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv-detailed.htm

Treatment 

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are treatable infections. Diagnosis requires testing and a positive result is treatable with antibiotics. Early detection and treatment are important to avoid potential long-term side effects.

This information is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice.

The risk is NOT knowing.  Get tested.

A Client Testimonial

"I first heard of Alternatives when I went to marriage counseling in the same building at their office. I knew very little about it. As time went on, and my marriage ended in divorce, my lawyer recommended that I get tested for STDs because of my husbands unfaithfulness in my marriage of over 15 years. When she first recommended that I do this, I was in denial that anything like this could happen to me, I was faithful to one partner and it wasn't something I ever even considered.  I had noticed the sign at Alternatives when I went for counseling that they offered free testing for STDs, so I called them and reluctantly made an appointment to have it done. When the day came, I was very nervous and very uncomfortable but the staff were very kind and non judgmental, which I appreciated at a very dark hour in my life. I was extremely relieved when my results came back negative, and once again, the staff was great.  Alternatives was very helpful to me in a dark time of my life, and I am grateful for that." 

Testimonial

Testimonial