Struggling With Your Resolutions?

It may be hormones!

Take a test to see whether
weight-related hormones are making
it hard to hit your goal weight

Learn More

Do you have your spring break plans set? If you are a high school or college student, your parents may not want to hear this, but I hope you’ve packed condoms. While no one plans to contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) while on vacation, many young people manage to catch something. The CDC reports that there are 19 million new cases per year and 65 million Americans has or will contract an STD at some point in their lives. Although some of these can be treated and eliminated, like crabs, chlamydia, genital warts and gonorrhea, some will never go away and may leave a lasting legacy of your trip, not the kind of souvenir you had hoped to bring home. Even the STDs that can be treated can only be eliminated if you know you have them. Some of them may not give you any symptoms and without treatment can cause long term health problems including infertility, liver damage, brain damage and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). For women, there is always the possibility of getting pregnant.

Spring Break flings and parties need to be tempered with a little bit of prudence and planning. Pace your drinking by alternating with glasses of water to reduce your overall alcohol intake. Stick by your friends and don’t leave anyone behind. If you’re the one flirting with someone, ask your friends to make sure they let you know that they are ready to leave so you’re not the one left behind. If you do decide to engage in sexual intercourse, USE A CONDOM. These diseases can be spread through any type of sexual activity, not just vaginal intercourse.

What if a mistake happens and you find yourself after the fact having had intercourse with someone new? Get tested when you get home or as soon as possible. A full range of STD tests, including HIV Testing, is available at your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®. These quick, easy and confidential tests offer peace of mind, knowing that you are safe from unwanted spring break souvenirs, or can allow you to get treatment early enough to prevent permanent damage to your body.

Some of the symptoms that men or women may notice include painful sores and blisters and a fever with Herpes and flu-like symptoms with Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. Women may notice a slight discharge and painful urination with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea or no symptoms at all. Men almost always have some discharge and painful urination with either of these. Syphilis has been almost completely eliminated with the advent of penicillin in the 1940s but it is still around and can be disastrous if not treated early. Early symptoms include painless sores, swollen glands and skin rashes. In later stages Syphilis can cause brain damage and blindness. Although HIV has no cure, the progression to AIDS can be slowed with drug treatments.

Even if you aren’t worried for yourself, carry a few condoms for friends. If you are exposed to something and don’t know about it or get treated, you WILL spread it on to your current or future sexual partners. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving…Don’t pass it on! Play it safe and don’t give up on your values and your good judgment. This is one time when you really need them.