Monthly Archives: August 2023

Men and abortion-min

Men and Abortion

Since January, 1973, with the legalization of abortion in the US, the primary decision a woman makes in choosing abortion parenting, or adoption has been centered on “a woman’s right to choose.”   Does the father have rights and what about men and abortion?  The Supreme Court says the father does not have any legal rights. [Planned Parenthood of Missouri v. Danforth (1976)].  This means that, though he may have influence as a result of his relationship with the woman, legally, he has no rights at all regarding the decision to carry and parent or terminate.  There’s no requirement that he even be informed.

The decision-making process that precedes an abortion, complicates how the abortion ultimately effects a man.  He may not know about the pregnancy, and so the abortion may happen without his knowledge or input.  He may oppose the abortion, and state that clearly and emphatically.  He may know about the pregnancy, but in trying to be loving, supportive and affirming of the woman’s rights, he may withhold his feelings or beliefs about abortion.  He may have not formed an opinion, and may simply go along with whatever the woman chooses.  He may support and even encourage her choice to terminate.  He may pressure her, using coercion and threats to leave her if she doesn’t agree to abort.  Or, he may completely abandon her, walking away from the relationship and the responsibility for the pregnancy, leaving her to cope and decide on her own.

These different reactions will have different levels of impact on the man, both in terms of his own emotional responses and his relationship with the woman.  If he pressures, encourages or even actively supports the abortion because he is fearful or complacent, he can have a significant emotional response later when he lives with the reality of abortion and how it may affect him and the woman.  If he abandons her, either literally, or by withholding his feelings and beliefs, he may find himself in the same boat.

The most common initial responses after an abortion to which he agreed to or maybe did not agree to are:

  1. Relief – relief the abortion is over and the decision to have an abortion. Relief the relationship can possibly get back to “normal”.
  2. Anger – anger he did not express his desires for this baby to be born or anger he had no rights. Anger he felt he had no control over the decision-making process.
  3. Denial – beginning to deny the experience or decision, to lock away the emotions and not deal with them, and to keep silent about it all thinking it will go away. All of which could lead to other destructive and complicated behaviors if not dealt with.

So, what is the long-term impact of abortion on the men involved?  There are as many as 28 studies which indicate most men feel overwhelmed, and many have disturbing thoughts about the abortion.  Often men generally are not very comfortable expressing vulnerable emotions like grief, guilt and shame.  They tend to go silent and withdraw, or become angry leading to hostility and sometimes aggression.  They may struggle with depression and anxiety.  They may wrestle with feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.  They may suppress their emotions, or become angry and belligerent. Whether they remain in relationship with this particular woman or not, their relationships going forward can be negatively impacted by the abortion experience.

Sometimes when a couple faces an abortion decision, a genuinely caring man feels he is trying to be supportive of the woman he loves, stay silent for the express purpose of making her feel empowered, of not pressuring her, and making sure she knows she can make the best decision for her own life.  Yet often the end result is what she most needs, his stabilizing presence and his opinion, his silence causes her to feel alone and abandoned.  The destabilizing of the relationship often begins in the silence and the distance that results.  Statistics show that most relationships end after abortion in spite of often believing this will save the relationship it can end it.

The loss of an unborn child through abortion leaves most men at some point trudging through grief, confusion, guilt, and trauma.  His choices are to forge on, trying to deny the undeniable impact of his loss, or to accept his responsibility, grieve the loss and work through his feelings.  If you are such a man, or you are in relationship with one, reach out to someone who can walk with you through the process.

Here at Choices Women’s Clinic we care about women and men and the choices you make.  We are here for you and invite you to consider our ongoing care programs like life coaching or abortion recovery to begin a healthy process of working through difficult decisions.  We believe there is always a way back!

free std testing

Where Can I Get Free Std Testing?

STDs, or Sexually Transmitted Diseases, are infections primarily passed from one person to another during sexual contact. Bacteria, viruses, or parasites may cause these diseases, ranging from prevalent conditions such as chlamydia and herpes to less common ones like syphilis and HIV.

Testing for STDs is critical for anyone sexually active, as many of these diseases can be asymptomatic, meaning they show no visible symptoms. Regular STD testing allows for early detection and treatment, minimizing potential harm to one’s health and preventing the spread of the disease to others.

Many health facilities, community health centers, and even some pharmacies offer free or low-cost STD testing, making it accessible for most individuals.

Choices Women’s Clinic is one example of a facility that provides  STD testing. They offer all tests, including chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS. They also provide breast cancer screenings and other women’s health services. This blog post will explain exactly what you must do to receive free STD testing at Choices Women’s Clinic. Let’s get started.

What Is STD | A Brief Intro

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that can be transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. Bacteria, viruses, or parasites can cause them. STDs encompass many conditions, from common ones like chlamydia and herpes to less prevalent infections like syphilis and HIV.

It’s important to note that many individuals may not exhibit visible symptoms of STDs, underscoring the significance of regular STI testing for anyone sexually active.

History

The history of STDs can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who associated them with immoral behavior. In the late 19th century, microbiology was in its infancy, and scientists were just beginning to understand the mechanisms behind these diseases. By the middle of the 20th century, penicillin had been discovered and was used to treat a wide range of infections, including STDs.

Symptoms

Understanding the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is crucial in the early detection and treatment of these conditions. STD symptoms can vary widely, depending largely on the type of disease. Common symptoms that may indicate an STD include:

  • Unusual Discharge From The Penis Or Vagina

This might be a sign of gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomoniasis. The discharge may have an unusual color, consistency, or smell.

  • Painful Or Frequent Urination

Man with prostate pain Photo of Unrecognizable Man covering his painful crotch. Mature man with urological problems suffering from pain at home during the day. Painful Urination stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

This could be symptomatic of a urinary tract infection and STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

  • Blisters Or Sores In The Genital Area Or Mouth

These could be symptomatic of herpes or syphilis.

  • Genital Itching Or Irritation

This could indicate the presence of an STD such as genital herpes, genital warts, or trichomoniasis.

  • Unusual Vaginal Bleeding Or Painful Sex

These symptoms could indicate an STD or other conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

  • Flu-like Symptoms

These might include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, or swollen lymph nodes, which could be a sign of HIV positive or syphilis.

When to Get Tested For STD

Deciding when to get tested for STDs depends on several factors, including your sexual behavior, your sexual partners, your age, and overall health. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Regularly If Sexually Active

If you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners, getting tested regularly, perhaps every 3-6 months, is a good idea.

  1. Before Starting A New Sexual Relationship

It is sensible to get tested before you start a new sexual relationship to protect both you and your new partner.

  1. If You Have Symptoms

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to get tested immediately.

  1. After Unprotected Sex

If you have had unprotected sex, getting tested is crucial, even if you don’t have symptoms.

  1. If Your Partner Tests Positive

If your sexual partner has tested positive for an STD, it is essential to get tested.

  1. Annually For Sexually Active Women Under 25

This age group is particularly at increased risk for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Annual screening is recommended.

STD Testing

STD testing refers to the procedures used to detect sexually transmitted diseases in a person. Tests can vary depending on the specific disease being tested for.

Still, they generally involve collecting and examining bodily samples like blood, urine, or swabs from the genital area. Some STD tests can detect multiple diseases at once.

For instance, a blood sample might be tested for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B simultaneously. Regular STD testing is crucial for sexually active people, as many STDs can be asymptomatic but still harmful if left untreated.

The testing frequency should be based on an individual’s sexual behavior, lifestyle, and other potential risk factors. Early detection through testing allows for more effective treatment and reduces the risk of spreading the infection.

Importance Of STD Testing

STDs can be important to detect because they can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. These include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even some cancers.

In addition, STDs can increase a person’s risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV/AIDS.

The Prevention Of Complications

STD testing is vital for one’s health and prevents severe complications that may arise if the infection is left untreated. STDs like Gonorrhea and Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, leading to infertility.

By getting regular STD testing, these complications can be avoided, ensuring better health outcomes.

Protection Of Partners

Another crucial aspect of STD testing is the protection of sexual partners. STDs are contagious and can be transmitted to other people through sexual contact.

Timely and regular testing can help to identify an STD early, allowing the infected individual to receive treatment and take steps to prevent spreading the infection to others.

Breakdown Of Stigma

Regular STD testing also contributes to the breakdown of social stigma. The more people get tested and talk about testing, the less stigmatized these diseases become.

This can lead to better sexual health practices, including regular testing and safer sexual behavior, reducing the overall prevalence of STDs in the community.

Early Treatment And Better Prognosis

The sooner an STD is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. Some STDs can be cured with antibiotics if detected early enough.

Even for incurable STDs like HIV and herpes, early detection can lead to treatments that manage symptoms and slow disease progression. Regular STD testing can lead to early detection and treatment and better health outcomes.

Encouragement Of Safe Sexual Practices

Regular STD testing can encourage safe sexual practices. Knowing one’s STD status can prompt conversations about safe sex, leading to more consistent use of condoms and other protection methods.

It increases awareness about the risks of unprotected sex and the importance of regular testing.

Achieving Public Health Goals

Lastly, regular STD testing is key to achieving public health goals. By reducing the prevalence of STDs in the community, we can reduce the resources spent treating these diseases and their complications.

Regular STD testing can also decrease the rates of new infections, helping to control the spread of these diseases.

Types Of STD Testing

Depending on the type of STD being tested for, different procedures may be used to obtain samples for examination.

For instance, a common test for gonorrhea involves collecting swabs from the genital area and sending them to a lab. Other testing methods include urine tests, blood tests, or taking cultures from the infected area. STD tests may include:

Blood Tests

Doctor doctor's office hand taking a blood sample test results tube from a rack with machines of analysis in the lab background, Technician holding blood tube test in the research laboratory. Doctor hand taking a blood sample tube from a rack with machines of analysis in the lab background, Technician holding blood tube test in the research laboratory. Blood Tests stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Blood tests commonly diagnose many STDs, including HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C. The process involves a healthcare provider drawing a blood sample that is then sent to a lab for analysis. This highly accurate test can detect infections even if no symptoms are present.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are typically used to detect gonorrhea and chlamydia. The patient is asked to provide a urine sample in a sterile cup during this test, then analyzed in a lab. The test is simple, non-invasive, and results can be available within a few days.

Swab Tests

Swab tests are used for various STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HPV. In this testing method, a healthcare provider will take a swab from an area that could be infected, such as the mouth, throat, genitals, or rectum. This sample is then sent off to a lab to be analyzed.

Physical Exams

In some cases, a physical examination by a healthcare provider can be used to diagnose certain STDs. Herpes and genital warts, for instance, can often be diagnosed through a simple visual inspection of the affected area. However, it’s important to note that not all STDs are visible, so other testing methods are also typically necessary.

Rapid Tests

Rapid tests, such as the rapid HIV test, can provide results in as little as 20 minutes. This method involves taking a small blood sample from a finger prick or a swab from the mouth.

The sample is then tested immediately, providing quick results. While rapid tests are convenient, they may not be as accurate as other testing methods and should be confirmed by an additional test if the result is positive.

Cultures

Culture tests involve taking a sample, typically a swab, from a potential infection site and allowing any bacteria or virus present to grow in a lab.

It’s then tested for specific pathogens. This method is often used for diagnosing herpes and trichomoniasis, however, growing civic conditions. Hence requires more time-consuming and specific conditions. It’s less commonly used than the methods above.

Where Can I Find Free STD Testing?

You can find free STD testing from a variety of sources. Additionally, many states offer free or low-cost STD testing through their public health departments. Check with your local healthcare provider for more information about the availability of free STD tests in your area. Following are some of the common places where you can avail free STD testing:

Local Health Departments

County health department sign health center County health department government programs sign on building exterior. Health Departments stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Local health departments often offer free or low-cost STD testing. These tests are usually confidential, and the staff is trained to provide support and information about the testing process. Depending on the local health department, they may offer various testing options, including rapid, swab, or blood tests.

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood is another venue for free or affordable STD testing. They offer a broad range of sexual healthcare services, of which STD testing is a major part. Additionally, Planned Parenthood clinics are known for their non-judgmental and supportive environment. You might be eligible for free services depending on your income and situation.

Online STD Testing

Several online platforms offer free or low-cost STD testing. These testing services typically involve a mail-in kit that you can use to collect a sample, which you then send back to a lab for analysis. The results are usually available online within a few days. This is a good option for those who value privacy and convenience, although ensuring that the service is reputable is essential.

College Health Centers

Many colleges and universities offer free STD testing for students through their health centers. These services are usually confidential and may include a range of tests for various STDs. They are a great resource for students who might struggle to afford testing.

Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations offer free or low-cost STD testing, particularly for HIV and Hepatitis. These organizations are often dedicated to specific causes such as LGBTQ+ health, youth services, or minority health. They provide testing, education, counseling, and resources for treatment if needed.

Community Health Clinics

Community health clinics, particularly those in urban areas, often offer accessible or affordable STD testing. These clinics serve patients on a sliding fee scale based on income, making them a good option for low-income individuals. Services offered at a sexual health clinic can include HIV testing, syphilis testing, and tests for other common STDs.

Choices Women’s Clinic is dedicated to providing free and low-cost STD testing to individuals regardless of their income or health insurance coverage.

Conclusion

Regular STD testing is crucial for maintaining sexual health and preventing the spread of these diseases. Several resources offer accessible or affordable testing, including local health departments, Planned Parenthood, Community Health Clinics, online platforms, college health centers, and non-profit organizations. By taking advantage of these resources, individuals can take control of their health while helping to achieve public health goals.

Ultimately, having access to free or low-cost testing can make a massive difference in the lives of those who are otherwise unable to get tested. This is why individuals must know their options and utilize available resources when needed. Ultimately, this will help protect the health of those at risk and their sexual partners.

Choices Women’s Clinic is dedicated to helping individuals access the testing they need. We provide free and low-cost STD testing, confidential counseling services, and other resources. If you or someone you know needs an STD test, please reach out and see how we can help!