All About STDs
Walk-in STD screening services are available at our Reading office on Mondays:
These walk-in slots fill quickly so we recommend you plan to be at our office by 9am if you want to be seen on a Monday.
- Tuesdays 11am-7pm (Reading)
- Tuesdays 9am-5pm (Pottsville)
- Wednesdays 9am-6pm (Pottsville)
- Thursdays 9am-3pm (Reading)
To schedule an appointment at our Reading office call (610) 375-6523.
To schedule an appointment at our Pottsville office call (570) 622-3980
Your STD screening will include testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV. You will also be assessed for herpes, and genital warts (HPV); additionally, female patients are assessed for vaginitis.
Our confidential STD screening services include a sexual history and a physical exam. Our staff will explain each step of the process to you and answer any questions you might have about your sexual health. The STD screening includes testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and HIV (optional).
For females, the physical exam includes a vaginal exam and swab, requiring the use of a speculum.
For males, the physical exam is a totally external. For both males and females, the physical exam includes assessment of the mouth, throat, and lymph glands, anus and genitalia for signs or symptoms of infection.
All patients must provide a blood sample for syphilis testing (and HIV testing if chosen). Males are required to provide a urine sample for Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing (for females, the vaginal swab is used to test for Chlamydia and gonorrhea).
PLEASE NOTE: Herpes and HPV (i.e. genital warts) are assessed for in the physical exam, not by actual testing in our clinic. If you are not symptomatic for herpes or HPV, but believe that you might be infected with either of these viruses, please talk to our clinician about your concerns.
You will be given an appointment to return in one week for your test.
If your screening indicates that you are positive for syphilis, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HPV, or a form of vaginitis, treatment will be provided at our clinic free of charge. Ongoing treatment options for herpes or HPV are discussed on a case by case basis.
Hepatitis A and B, as well as HPV (Human Papillomavirus – the most common sexually transmitted virus in the US) can be prevented with a vaccine.
If you are sexually active and have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B we encourage you to talk to your health care provider or our STD clinician.
The HPV vaccine is most effective if you have it prior to becoming sexually active. However, this vaccine may be given up to age 26 for females and up to age 21 for males.
What are STDs? “STD” stands for “Sexually Transmitted Disease.” Sometimes this is also abbreviated as “STI,” which stand for “Sexually Transmitted Infection.”
How are STDs spread? STDs can be spread through oral, anal and/or vaginal sexual activity. Some STDs can be transmitted through skin to skin contact. This means the infection can be transmitted without any sexual penetration and without the presence of sexual fluids.
How many STDs are there? Currently there are more than 26 STDs that have been identified. About half (13) of these are fairly common.
Who should be tested for STDs? Anyone who has/had: more than one sexual partner, a partner who had more than one sexual partner, engaged in sexual activity without knowing the sexual history of a partner, or had symptoms of an STD should consider being screened for STDs.
What are the symptoms of STDs? The most common symptoms of STDs include: discharge, burning or pain when urinating, and itching around the genitals. Other symptoms may include sores or blisters on the genitals. If you have any of these symptoms, it would be a good idea to contact your medical provider, or our STD Clinic, to schedule an STD screening.
If I don’t have any of these symptoms, should I still be concerned? Often, people who are infected with STDs have no signs or symptoms of infection. If you have an STD, even if you have no signs or symptoms, you can still pass it on to your sex partner(s). Also, left untreated, STDs can lead to more serious health problems including: sterility, infertility, organ damage and death.
If I had some of these symptoms, but they went away, should I still be concerned? STDs do not go away unless they are treated. If you had symptoms in the past, and were never treated, it would be a good idea to talk with your medical provider, or contact our STD clinic.
If my annual Pap test is negative, should I still be concerned? The Pap test is looking for changes in the cervix that may be the result of being infected with HPV. The Pap test will not tell you if you are infected with other STDs.
Can STDs be cured? STDs that are caused by bacteria, protozoa, fungi and parasites can be treated and cured. STDs that are caused by viruses can be treated, but usually cannot be cured. This means there is medicine that can control the virus and help make the symptoms go away, but it does not make the virus go away. Because the medicine does not make the virus go away, the symptoms may come back again. It also means a person who has the virus can still pass it on to their sex partner(s).
Where can I be tested for STDs? You can contact our STD Clinic (or any state funded site) to schedule a free STD screening. You can also contact your medical provider to ask for an appointment to be tested for STDs.
How can I prevent STD infections? Abstinence (choosing to not have sex) is the 100% effective method of preventing STD infection.
Mutual monogamy (having only one sex partner, who is not infected, and who is only having sex with you) is the next best method of STD prevention.
If neither of these choices are realistic for you, you may want to contact our Prevention Services Department to discuss strategies for reducing your risk of STD infection.
Support Our Cause
Co-County Wellness Services improves public health through service, education, and advocacy in the PA counties of Berks and Schuylkill. We provide free case case management, HIV medication education; HIV and STD Counseling and Testing; prevention interventions and lead a teen pregnancy prevention initiative Berks Teens Matter.
Thank you for considering a donation to Co-County Wellness Services, a community based 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. Your financial donation is tax deductible and it enables CCWS to continue providing service, education, and advocacy for the public health.