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Wellness Center

U R Questions

Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV


Can I get herpes if my partner performs oral sex on me while having a cold sore?
Can I transmit Chlamydia to my partner if he is performing oral sex on me?
What does it mean when my pap smear reads ASCUS?
Is there a test for HPV that can be done without warts being present?
I have bumps around my anus that sometimes bleed. Do I have an STI?
Can E. Coli be transmitted from mouth to urethra?
What can I expect from the STI testing process?
How long should I wait to get tested after an unprotected encounter?
I took all the antibiotics for Chlamydia but I still get the symptoms. Why?
If we've both never had sex before, could one of us get an STI or HIV?
Can you get herpes from using an infected person's razor?
Does having HPV cause increased urinary tract infections?
What method does Family Medicine use to test for HIV?
Can I have a normal sex life with HPV?
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
Where can I get an STI blood test in the Chicagoland area?
Can I get tested for STIs on campus?
Is it safe to have oral sex with an oral dam if I have HPV?
Can Chlamydia cause a woman to miss her period?
Can UTIs cause period irregularity?


QUESTION: Is it possible to get herpes if your partner gives you oral sex while having a cold sore?

ANSWER: Yes. Herpes are caused by two different (but closely related) viruses: herpes simplex 1 (HSV1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV2). HSV1 is typically considered "above the waist" and cold sores/fever blisters while HSV2 is considered "below the waist" and genital herpes. If an individual has cold sores and gives oral sex the uninfected individual may contract the virus in their genital area. Likewise, if an individual has genital herpes and someone gives them oral sex, there is a potential to transmit the virus to the mouth. The virus can be transmitted through touching, kissing, and sexual contact including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Both types have the potential, but is rare, to be transmitted when no visible signs/symptoms are present (a.k.a. asymptomatic) - shedding of the skin cells. The virus is most contagious when open sores are present. The most common symptom is a cluster of sores/blisters usually in/around the genital area, buttocks or anus. The virus is not transmitted through casual contact including toilet seats, towels or similar objects.

For more information about herpes and how to prevent the spreading of the virus please check out http://www.plannedparenthood.org/sti/herpes.htm and http://www.herpes-coldsores.com/

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QUESTION: I found out about a week ago that I have Chlamydia the doctor prescribed me some medication for it. But my sex partner has not been tested. If he is tested positive is it possible for him giving it back to me only if he is giving me oral sex?

ANSWER: You can get genital Chlamydia infection during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact with an infected partner.

According to the National Institutes of Health, if you have Chlamydia, you should:

You also should not have sexual intercourse/contact until your treatment is completed and successful.

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QUESTION: I had a pap smear done and request a HPV testing from my pap at the same time. The doctor test HPV with the DNA probe testing. When my results came back I was negative for both low risk and high risk HPV, but my pap smear read ASCUS. What does this mean? It the DNA probe test for HPV effective in testing for the virus and may be the cause of ASCUS on my pap reading? Should I request another HPV testing? I am really scared and confused.

ANSWER: ASCUS stands for atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance. It means that the pap smear detected cellular changes and these changes are thought to be mostly a response to some cervical inflammation or irritation.

It is possible that some of the inflammation may be due to the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is pervasive in anyone having sexual relations. Most people's immune system controls the virus and it doesn't cause abnormal cells. Some people's immune system takes awhile to build antibodies to it and meanwhile it causes abnormal Paps. Smokers take the longest time to get over it but it persists for awhile in nonsmokers too.

HPV usually goes away on its own after a year or two as your body develops immunity to the virus. There are some strains of the virus that are thought to be more aggressive and if left for a long time, may promote more severe changes called dysplasia and even cancer. That is why the Pap changes need to keep being checked, to make sure they don't get worse over time.

If you are still concerned, scared, or confused, it is recommended that you speak with your clinician. S/he should be well versed in diagnostic testing, and would be able to address any concerns you might be having.

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QUESTION: I had unprotected sex with someone five years ago. A few weeks later, or couple of months (I do not recall the time), I develop a single bump on near the inside of my vagina. There was some itching, but I never went to see a doctor. Eventually the wart went away. I never have a wart since then, none that I know of. I had a pap smear two years ago (three years after developing a bump) and my pap smear results came back negative for any STIs. My question is, is there any kind of test at UIC that can test for HPV without a wart being present?

ANSWER: Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), which has over 100 types and can lead to plantar, hand, juvenile, butcher's, and genital warts. Not all of the viruses cause genital warts, only about 30 types can infect the genital area. Some types may cause changes in cells, which can increase the risk of cervical and some other cancers, but, again, not all types cause a change in the cells. Most types may have no harmful effect at all.

It takes approximately 6 weeks to 6 months after infection for warts to develop, but may sometimes take longer. Any type of HPV (since it is a virus) will be with you forever and can be transmitted through sexual contact. Condoms can offer some protection, but if the condom does not cover/protect the infected area then they will not be effective and the virus can be transmitted.

Genital warts can be different sizes, shapes, and colors including flesh-colored, soft, or cauliflower-looking. They usually grow in more than one place and there may be a number of warts in a cluster. They are usually painless, but itchy. Not all bumps are warts as skin tags, secondary syphilis, and hemorrhoids can look similar to genital warts; therefore it's important to be checked by a clinician for diagnosis.

Genital warts are diagnosed by a clinician and for women, are usually seen during a pelvic exam (if a wart is present). Men are not usually checked out for infections unless they complain of signs/symptoms.

There are different ways to diagnose other HPV infections including a pap test, which could show any precancerous cells on the cervix that are caused by HPV (remember, not all types cause precancerous cells); and a microscopic exam of tissue, which is a fairly new type of exam and can find very small amounts of HPV in fluid or tissue samples. Clinicians are the only individuals able to give the test and it is not routinely done for patients. Some insurance may not cover this test, so it would be important to find out beforehand if you choose this route.

Although genital warts is caused by a virus and the virus is with the person for life, a person with HPV but shows no symptoms does not always need treatment unless they have an abnormal pap test or genital warts.

The UIC Family Medicine Clinic (FMC) can test for HPV, but it is not covered under the student health fee (only HIV, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea are covered), which every student is charged. If you have the Campus Care Health Benefits Plan through UIC it would be recommended you call them to see if testing for HPV is covered. They can be reached at 312/996.4915. If you have another insurance, it is recommended you contact your insurance company to see if testing is covered.

For STI testing sites in the Chicagoland area, go to STI Testing Centers [http://www.uic.edu/depts/wellctr/sexual.shtml#testingsites]

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QUESTION: STD or not??? I had sex about two months ago and I’ve been really itchy and have these bumps around my anal area and when i go to wipe after using the bathroom if i wipe too hard these bumps will start to bleed.

ANSWER: It is difficult to say if the bumps you have are caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or not. STIs are complicated; a different microorganism causes each infection, which means the symptoms for each STI vary as well.

You should get tested right away if you have any of these symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI):

Because you have said that you have bumps around your genitals, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your clinician. S/he will be able to do testing to see if the bumps are caused by an STI or some other microorganism.

Additionally, since many STIs have no symptoms, you don't want to take any chances. The longer an STI goes untreated, the more damage it can do to you and others.

If you have no symptoms, but have had oral, vaginal, or anal sex without using condoms-or you've had sex with more than one partner-you should get tested. Your chances of getting an STI increase if you have had unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. It is recommended that sexually active people get tested for sexually transmitted infections at least every six months.

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QUESTION: I recently had a protected oral sex. After 15 days i got Urinary infection caused by E Coli. What is the chance that E coli can be transmitted fm mouth to urethra? I thought E coli lives in colon. Is it a STD or a UTI?

ANSWER: A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and reproduce. E. coli causes about 80% of UTIs in adults. These bacteria are normally present in the colon and may enter the urethral opening from the skin around the anus and genitals. Women are especially susceptible; the female urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the `outside world') is much shorter than the male's, and the opening of the urethra is closer to the anus in a woman. Bacteria from both the anus and the vagina can enter the female urethra very easily. During sexual intercourse bacteria in the vaginal area is sometimes massaged into the urethra by the motion of the penis, which may make sexually active women more prone to UTIs.

There are several steps you can take to help prevent UTI, including the following:

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QUESTION: I will soon make an appointment to be tested for STI's. I am curious to know what to expect in the testing process. (For example, do they take a blood sample, a urine sample, etc?)

ANSWER: The tests done to screen for a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) depends on the type of organism that causes each infection. For example, collecting a sample of fluid from the infected area usually screens for bacterial STIs. Some viral STIs, such as herpes and genital warts, are often diagnosed by visual identification of a lesion; sometimes clinicians will scrape the surface of the lesion with a cotton swab or take a small biopsy to diagnose an STI. Some STIs, such as HIV, herpes, and syphilis, can be identified by blood tests; additionally, some clinics now test for HIV through a saliva sample.

Each clinic is different, depending on the type of technology they use for testing. Your clinician will be able to inform you how s/he tests for each type of STI.

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QUESTION: About a week ago, I had sex with a complete stranger. I used protection, but would like to get tested anyway. How soon should I get tested in order to know accurate results? In other words, I'd like to know if there is some sort of time lapse between the instance of intercourse and the time that diseases would appear on a test, and I would want my test to be as accurate as possible.

ANSWER: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are complicated; a different microorganism causes each infection. The length of time you must wait to be tested depends on what type of test is used to screen for that particular STI. For example, Chlamydia and gonorrhea are detected by culturing a bit of fluid that is thought to contain the bacteria that causes these infections. Since bacteria multiple quickly, they are detectible in a relatively short amount of time (i.e. you wouldn't have to wait to get tested).

On the other hand, the HIV test is a test for antibodies to the virus and not for the virus itself. Antibodies are substances produced by the body to fight a specific invading organism. It takes your body anywhere from two weeks to six months to produce the antibodies if you've been infected by HIV. This period is called the window period. This means that if you are concerned about a specific risk incident, it might take up to six months for the test to be conclusive. The window period is usually considered to be six months long, however, most people develop the antibodies within the first three months after infection. Some clinics recommend waiting 3 months after a specific incidence before testing for HIV; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that three months after possible exposure is sufficient to determine if HIV infection has taken place.

You should get tested right away if you have any of these symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI):

Since many STIs have no symptoms, you don't want to take any chances. The longer an STI goes untreated, the more damage it can do to you and others. If you have no symptoms, but have had oral, vaginal, or anal sex without using condoms-or you've had sex with more than one partner-it is recommended you get tested. Your chances of getting an STI increase if you have had unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners. It is recommended that sexually active people get tested for sexually transmitted infections at least every six months.

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QUESTION: I do not have regular periods (once every 2months or even longer). I've been told that I have polycystic ovaries. However, I have had unprotected sex by mistake (i.e. the condom broke), and was recently diagnosed for Chlamydia. I eventually got treated for Chlamydia but still seemed to get the symptoms. I then decided to test again if I was still was Chlamydia positive but the results were again negative. The symptom I have is that when I urinate it is always accompanied with white liquid. Please, please can you tell me what I may have, as I can't seem to get answers anywhere.

ANSWER: Although it sounds like you have seen your clinician, it would be recommended to see him/her again to figure out why your urine may have a white liquid to it. You clinician may recommend seeing a urologist as well.

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QUESTION: me and my girlfriend have been have sex with out condoms for about 5 mounth now and I was the first person who she had sex with and she was the first person who I had sex with can we get hiv or an std?

ANSWER: If both of you went into the relationship without a sexually transmitted infection (STI) then a STI will not just appear. If you are monogamous (only seeing each other intimately) then an infection, again, cannot just appear. If either of you are seeing other people intimately then there would be a chance one of you could get infected by someone else and pass it to other partner.

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QUESTION: is it possible to contract herpes from using someone elses shaver to shave your pubic area if the are having and outbreak or not?

ANSWER: There are no documented cases of a person getting genital herpes from an inanimate object such as a toilet seat, bathtub, towel, or razor. Herpes is a very fragile virus and does not live long on surfaces. The virus is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. This occurs when a contagious area comes into contact with a mucous membrane, primarily the mouth and genitals. If a person with oral herpes (i.e. cold sores) performs oral sex, it is possible for the partner to get herpes on their genital area. Additionally, if a person with genital herpes has sex, it is possible for his or her partner to get genital herpes. Remember, herpes can be transmitted when there are NO symptoms present. Condoms can offer some protection if the affected area is covered by the condom; but if herpes occurs outside of the area covered by a condom, then condoms do not offer protection to that area.

If you are concerned that you have contracted herpes, it is important to be tested by a clinician to confirm the presence of the virus. For a listing of clinics around the Chicagoland that test for sexually transmitted infections, click here.

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QUESTION: I have HPV and I've also had a lot of UTIs lately like 4 or 5 times a year and i was thinking that maybe me having HPV is causeing me to have UTIs a lot or maybe my boyfriend is nasty.

ANSWER: It is hard to say whether or not your HPV infection is causing your frequent urinary tract infections. A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract and reproduce. Women are especially susceptible; the female urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the `outside world') is much shorter than the male's, and the opening of the urethra is closer to the anus in a woman. Bacteria from both the anus and the vagina can enter the female urethra very easily. During intercourse bacteria in the vaginal area is sometimes massaged into the urethra by the motion of the penis, which may make sexually active women more prone to UTIs. UTIs can be caused by other sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or trichomoniasis, therefore, it is important to see your clinician to determine the cause of infection.

There are several steps you can take to help prevent UTI's, including the following:

And remember, if you think you may have a UTI it is important to consult your clinician to confirm diagnosis and treatment.

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QUESTION: What kind of test does the Family Medical Center use to test for HIV?

ANSWER: Although we cannot comment on the type of test the Family Medicine Center uses, the most well-known tests are the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and the Western blot test. The ELISA test is usually done initially and if the test is positive then the Western blot is done to confirm/deny the positive result.

For more information, please call the UIC Family Medicine Center at 312-996-2901 or check out their website.

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QUESTION: Can i have a normal sex life having HPV after the wort is gone?

ANSWER: As you probably know, if you are diagnosed with Human Papillomavirus (HPV or genital warts) then you have a virus which cannot be cured. If you show signs of HPV then the warts can be treated, but the virus still remains and can be passed to another.

As for having a "normal sex life" it depends on what your view of "normal" is. Even though you may not have any symptoms or signs, the virus can still be transmitted. Therefore it is important for communication to play a role with you and your partner(s) to discuss how to protect each other. If you're having vaginal, anal, or oral sex (on a male) then you can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus by using a latex or polyurethane condom. Condoms will help reduce the risk of transmitting the virus via bodily fluids, but it can still be transmitted through the "shedding" of skin that may not be covered by a condom. If you are having oral sex (on a female) or rimming (oral sex on the anus) then you can use an oral dam, which is a thin latex or polyurathane sheath to cover the area of infection.

Genital warts are unlikely to spread to other parts of the body, but there is still a possibility (i.e. genital to oral transmission).

Again, communication with your partner(s) is very important to let them know of your infection as well as ways to protect both of you.

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QUESTION: What are the symptoms of genital herpes? I have redish bumps where the hair grows and I heard it is possible to get an ingrown hair, but I don't think it is that.

ANSWER: First episode symptoms of genital herpes can include
(some people do not have symptoms)

Symptoms may go away after several weeks, but may return in weeks, months or years later.

Later episodes usually have less severe symptoms than the first.

Many people carry the virus in their bodies but do not have their first episode of symptoms until they are infected another time.

If you feel you may have any of the above symptoms, it may be best to be tested by a clinician. If you do not have a clinician, please check our website for STI testing sites in the Chicagoland area including UIC Family Medicine and various Planned Parenthood locations.

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QUESTION: OK I was diagnosed with herpes. Well I haven't had any outbreaks since then. I noticed when I went to the bathroom I had a couple small drops of blood that was on the tissue and it came from around my anus. I didn't worry too much about it. I figured I cut myself shaving. Then I ended up having sex with my fiancé and noticed when I went to the bathroom again there was a lot of blood from my vagina. It's not my time of the month. What could it be?

ANSWER: For this type of question it is best to see your clinician about the issue since herpes is transmitted sexually - including through blood.

If you continue to have sex, you may want to use extra protection to help reduce the transmission of the sexually transmitted infection. Please remember condoms may not fully cover the infected area and that herpes can be transmitted through oral sex as well as vaginal and anal sex.

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QUESTION: Is there somewhere on campus where I can be tested for STD's?

ANSWER: As an enrolled student at UIC, you have access to a wide range of services including early treatment of illness and injury, prevention, nutrition education, health promotion/outreach services.

The Family Medicine Center provides the following services to all students when medically necessary and appropriate and rendered on site in our center:

There is no co-payment or charge to the student for the listed services when obtained at the Family Medicine Center.

Call the UIC Family Medicine center at (312) 996-2901 to schedule an appointment.

Check our listing of STI testing sites in the Chicago area

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QUESTION: I have genital warts in and around my anus. I am on medication I was wondering if it was safe to have oral sex performed on my anus with a dental dam?

ANSWER: If the area is COMPLETELY covered by an oral dam, there is a decreased risk (not absolute) of transmitting genital warts (HPV). HPV can be transmitted when there are no signs/symptoms, therefore it is important to communicate with your partner and decide on the best protection for both of you.

If you and your partner do not wish to abstain (only 100% protection) from rimming (oral sex on the anal area) or anal sex you can use oral dams (rimming) or condoms (anal sex) - latex or polyurethane.

Oral dams can be "made" a few ways:

  1. You could use oral dams offered in the Wellness Center (free) which are polyurethane.
  2. Some oral dams are made of latex
  3. Non-powdered latex gloves: Cut the four fingers off the glove. Cut up the side of the pinky finger on the glove. Open it up and the area where the thumb would go, could be used for your tongue.
  4. Non-microwaveable saran wrap (the microwaveable saran wrap has large enough "pores" to allow viruses and bacteria through therefore STI's as well), which can be doubled up if wanted.
  5. Condoms cut along one side (from base to tip)

Pros and Cons:
Some oral dams are small and said to be hard to continue to hold throughout oral sex and or rimming, but they come in different materials (latex and polyurethane), which can conduct heat better (increased feeling). Usually costly, but they are free in the Wellness Center for students. The Wellness Center is located in B19 of the Student Center East (formerly CCC).

Latex gloves help protect against STI's and there is a place for your tongue. Usually they're inexpensive.

Saran wrap can be torn off at whatever length you wish and is fairly inexpensive as well.

Condoms are inexpensive (free in the Wellness Center), sometimes they have powder or lubricant on them. We also have flavored condoms in our office. Condoms are similar to oral dams in the sense of continued holding during rimming or oral sex.

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QUESTION: Will Chlamydia cause a woman to miss a period?

ANSWER: Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause a woman to become sterile and possible miss periods. Most women usually have no symptoms (symptomatic) if they have Chlamydia, but if you do have symptoms it's usually one or more of the following:

Symptoms usually occur 1 - 3 weeks after exposure. Luckily Chlamydia (and gonorrhea, which are usually diagnosed together) are curable with certain antibiotics.

If you think you may have an STI, please see your clinician for testing and treatment if you have something. Also, it's important for your partner(s) to know and be tested as well. If you do not have a clinician and are a UIC student you are able to use Family Medicine on the west side of campus. Please visit our website for their contact information and other site locations (i.e. Planned Parenthood).

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QUESTION: My girlfriend is and has been taking birth control for almost a year and a half. We have had sex a couple of times in the past month without using a condom or any other type of birth control. When she was supposed to get her period, it only last one day and there was a weird discoloration. She contacted a doctor, who told her that it may or may not mean she is pregnant. She has had about four urinary tract infections this year, and we think that may be the cause of the problem. Is this a common occurrence for people with UTI's, or is it most likely mean she is pregnant?

ANSWER: The only way to be sure if you are pregnant or not is to take a pregnancy test. There are pregnancy testing sites on our website.

As far as urinary tract infections go, some research has shown that women on the Pill tend to have more infections of the bladder, but more recent studies do not support this finding. Urinary tract infections (UTI's) usually cause the urine itself to look milky or cloudy, even reddish if blood is present.

Doctors suggest some additional steps that a woman can take on her own to avoid an infection:

  1. Always wipe from front to back after urinating and after a bowel movement to avoid contaminating the urethra with bacteria from the vaginal and rectal areas.
  2. Urinate frequently during the day. Do not hold urine when you feel the urge to urinate.
  3. Always urinate within ten minutes after intercourse if possible. Intercourse causes a slight trauma to the urethra and allows bacteria into it. Urinating helps flush these bacteria out. If this is not possible, drinking 10-12 ounces of water immediately after intercourse will cause you to urinate later and help flush the bacteria out.
  4. Adequate lubrication during sex will decrease urethral irritation.
  5. If you have anal intercourse or anal-finger contact, wash the penis, vulva, hands and/or dildo with soap and water prior to vaginal penetration. This will reduce the risk of introducing bowel bacteria into the vagina and urethra. If condoms are used during anal contact, be sure to change condoms.
  6. Drink at least eight glasses of liquids (preferably water, 6-8 ounces each) per day, to increase urination and help flush out bacteria.
  7. Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated beverages and alcohol. These substances irritate the bladder and cause a slight amount of bleeding to occur. When bleeding occurs, bacteria may enter the blood vessels more easily.
  8. Do not allow the meatus (urethral opening) to remain moist for long periods. Moistness allows bacteria to enter the meatus and to multiply. Bubble baths, wet or tight clothing, use of nylon underwear and spandex clothing, promote moistness and irritation.
  9. Clean around the meatus with water, daily, to remove secretions and decrease moisture.

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