Hepatitis A and Sexual Transmission

Hepatitis A and Sexual Transmission

Hepatitis A has been in the local news lately, specifically related to infections identified in restaurant industry employees. While Hepatitis A is most often spread by ingestion of food or water contaminated with fecal material of infected people, both casual contact and intimate/sexual contact with an infected individual can put a person at risk of being infected.  Oral to anal sex is certainly riskier, but not necessary to transmit the virus sexually.

Hepatitis A is often transmitted by infected people when they are not aware of their infection.  A person is infectious in the early stages of the infection, before they begin having symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measures typically used to prevent the transmission of other STDs (e.g., use of condoms) do not prevent Hepatitis A transmission. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing Hepatitis A transmission among persons at risk for infection.

Hepatitis A vaccinations have been a part of the routine childhood immunization schedule since 1994, and therefore many people have already been immunized. For those uncertain of their immunization status, the CDC recommends the Hepatitis A vaccination for men who have sex with men (MSM). Sexually active adults are not considered at risk for hepatitis A unless they live with or are having sex with an infected person, inject drugs or have chronic liver disease.

Clarity is partnering with the Bartholomew County Health Department in providing two Hepatitis A vaccination clinics on August 1, 2019.

2-4 p.m. at Clarity Testing Clinic, located at 1950 Doctors Park Drive, Suite B, Columbus

4:30-6 p.m. at Clarity Pregnancy Services, located at 2420 E. 7thStreet, Columbus. 

Those who have never been vaccinated against Hepatitis A or are uncertain of their vaccination status and are at risk are encouraged to get vaccinated. For more information, please call the Bartholomew County Health Department at 812-379-1555, option 1.


What Can I Expect When Visiting Clarity Testing Clinic?

What Can I Expect When Visiting Clarity Testing Clinic?

First time visitors to Clarity Testing Clinic often wonder what the visit will be like. We want you to know, so here is an inside look at what happens at the clinic.

Clarity Testing Clinic offers confidential sexual health medical services for men and women. The clinic provides testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Pap smears, pregnancy tests and limited obstetrical ultrasound.

Who visits Clarity Testing Clinic?

  • Men and women—almost an even distribution between the two sexes and anywhere between the ages of 13-70+.
  • Referrals from our centers in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings and Shelby counties
  • Members of the LGBTQ community
  • People seeking confidential testing outside of their community—such as Bloomington, Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne and even out of state
  • Women desiring a pregnancy test and limited OB Ultrasound
  • We also collaborate with the Bartholomew County Health Department, helping to treat partners of those who have tested positive for an STI like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Syphilis.

What are the reasons that prompt people to come to Clarity Testing Clinic?

  • Individuals who are sexually active and seeking out routine STI screening
  • People who were made aware that a previous partner tested positive for an infection and they are worried that they may have been infected
  • Individuals experiencing symptoms of an STI that appear after a sexual encounter
  • Those responding to public service announcements that encourage the sexually active to get tested
  • Women concerned about possible pregnancy or wanting to confirm a possible pregnancy
  • We are a free STD Screening Clinic of the Indiana State Department of Health for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

What is a typical visit like?

The clinic is a cozy space that is calming and peaceful, staffed with non-judgmental, caring and compassionate medical professionals and volunteers. We take measures to provide exceptional confidentiality. A visit usually takes about an hour.

During the visit a Sexual Behavior Risk Inventory will be completed to help the medical professionals understand the types of infections you may be at risk for.  A medical history will be gathered of your current concern and symptoms, sexual health practices and prevention activities, along with other health related information.

Together with your healthcare provider, a decision will be made about the tests that are important for you to obtain.  Specimens will be collected accordingly.  For those patients who are experiencing symptoms of an infection, an exam will be performed.  For those patients who are seeking STI screening and are currently not experiencing symptoms, the exam will be omitted.

The types of specimens that are collected depend on the type of test to be performed. Specimen types include:

  • Urine sample:  Pregnancy Test, Urinalysis, male Chlamydia, Gonnorhea and Trichomonas testing (Yes, no swab test for men!)
  • Blood draw sample:  HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis B and C and Syphilis testing
  • Throat Swab:  Chlamydia and Gonnorhea testing
  • Anal Swab:  Chlamydia and Gonnorhea testing
  • Vaginal swab:  Chlamydia and Gonnorhea, Bacterial Vaginosis and Trichomonas testing
  • Swab of a lesion to test for Herpes
  • Cervical cells sample: PAP testing with/without HPV testing, Gonnorhea and Chlamydia testing

What is the cost of a visit?

There is no cost for office visits and exams if needed. Rapid result tests that are performed onsite are provided free of charge. Other tests that are sent to the lab incur a small lab fee that is passed on to the patient.  Those tests and prices include:

  • HIV Confirmation: $12
  • Syphilis: $7
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Combo test: $18
  • Liquid based PAP: $14
  • HPV: $35
  • Herpes: $25
  • Hepatitis B, C: $60

Fees can be billed to health insurance or can be paid by cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. Funds are also available to assist clients with limited ability to pay.

How long does it take to get test results?

Testing for HIV, Bacterial Vaginosis, Trichomonas, Urinalysis and Pregnancy are all rapid tests that yield results in 15 minutes or less and will be shared with patients during the visit.

Other specimens are sent to an off-site laboratory and most results are ready within a week.  Tests being sent to the lab include:  Syphilis, HIV confirmation, Chlamydia, Gonnorhea, Herpes, PAP, HPV, Trichomonas for men, and Hepatitis B and C.  Follow-up appointments are made a week later for obtaining laboratory test results and treatment if necessary.

Is treatment also provided?

Yes, treatment for a laboratory confirmed infection is provided.  Treatment for suspected infections may also be provided based on the health provider’s discretion.  Free treatment for Gonnorhea and Chlamydia is available for patients that meet specific guidelines.  Otherwise, prescriptions are called to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice and paid for by them.  Free treatment is also provided for genital warts after a confirmed diagnosis is obtained by our physician.

At Clarity, our goal is to affirm each person’s value and worth. We strive to provide holistic care, knowing that a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy may only be one piece of your concern.  We are ready to provide a listening ear, encouragement, resources like referrals for counseling or support groups or educational materials. 

A recent patient left us this comment on their feedback form, “Thank you for making me feel comfortable in a difficult, uncomfortable situation.”

Come on in. No need to be afraid.  Get yourself tested. Request your appointment today.

Introducing our 2019 Summer Interns

Introducing our 2019 Summer Interns

Each year we offer two 10-week paid internships for emerging leaders to gain an inside point of view of the not-for-profit sector. This opportunity has opened many doors for our interns to serve with other local not-for-profit organizations and to often give them another perspective when moving forward in their areas of study.

Taylor Gaskill (pictured on the left) began with us on June 3. Taylor graduated 9th in her class from Columbus East High School (she’ll be the youngest intern we’ve had thus far), and she even coordinated her senior project to benefit Clarity. We asked Taylor a few questions to get to know here a bit better:

  • What’s your dream job?
    • A pediatrician
  • What do you hope to gain from this internship experience?
    • I hope to learn about non-profit organizations and also gain experience in the workplace, working alongside adults as I pursue college and life afterwards. 
  • Any future plans?
    • To attend Valparaiso University in the fall of 2019 

Janae Blackerby (pictured on the right) arrived Monday, May 20.  Janae recently graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from IUSE in New Albany. She lives in Seymour and attends Cornerstone Church there. She has a heart for our ministry and sees how an internship with Clarity can help her hone her plans for the future. We also asked Janae a few questions to learn more about her:

  • What’s your dream job?
    • I want to work as a mental health counselor specializing in marriage and family therapy.
  • What do you hope to gain from this internship experience?
    • I hope to learn how nonprofits work from behind the scenes. I look forward to working with each department head and gaining experience specifically in how Clarity uses their education, intervention, and restoration programs to communicate their vision to the surrounding communities. I am most excited about working with the education program and helping with research on the PIE project.
  • Any future plans?
    • My immediate future plans include attending graduate school to get a masters in counseling next year and my long-term plans are to get a job as a counselor in the southern Indiana area, get married, and start a family! 

Both interns will serve in a variety of capacities throughout the organization for 10 weeks. Please say hello and introduce yourself when you see them around!

Pap Smears: Answers to 5 Common Questions

Pap Smears: Answers to 5 Common Questions

What exactly is a Pap smear?

We often experience women equating a vaginal exam with a Pap smear.  A Pap smear is a type of laboratory test that is performed on women as a screening test to look at the cells from the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. The term Pap is an abbreviation of the last name of the scientist who discovered this testing procedure in the 1940’s,Georgios Nikolaou Papanikolaou.  The term smear refers to the specimen collected from the cervix that was then smeared onto a glass slide to look under the microscope.  This test is used to detect changes or abnormalities in cervical cells that have the potential to develop into cervical cancer.  The changes in the cells are caused by one or more strains of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

What are the guidelines for Pap smear testing? 

Previously Pap smears were routinely performed once a young woman began sexual activity and each year as part of a regular well-woman check-up. Beginning in 2012, the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) and other women’s health organizations published new guidelines that recommend screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years with a Pap smear (cytology) every 3 years or, for women age 30 to 65 years who want to lengthen the screening interval, screeningwith a combination of cytology and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing every 5 years. (http://www.asccp.org/asccp-guidelines)

How is a Pap smear performed?

A Pap smear should not be performed during your period and you should avoid inserting anything in your vaginal canal, including sexual intercourse for 48 hours before your exam. The specimen obtained from the cervix for a Pap smear is collected during a vaginal and or pelvic exam. During this type of exam, the provider will use an instrument called a speculum that is inserted into the vaginal canal and allows the provider to visualize the cervix by holding the walls of the vaginal canal open.  There are a few different collection devices that are used to collect the cells:  a paddle, a brush or a broom.  The provider will determine what device is best to use.  It is very common for the cervix to bleed a little after the sample is collected and you might notice a little spotting of blood afterward.

How are abnormal Pap smear results dealt with?

If you have an abnormal cervical cancer screening test result, you may need further testing. Depending on the type of abnormality found and your age, different follow-up tests may be done.  For a table that shows the types of abnormalities and follow-up recommended, please click here (provide this link: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Abnormal-Cervical-Cancer-Screening-Test-Results

Are STI tests performed with Pap smears?

The Pap smear itself doesn’t test for any other STIs.  However, during the Pap smear, your provider may choose to collect samples of the fluid around the cervix to test for gonorrhea or chlamydia.  Some providers recommend STI testing at the time a Pap smear is performed, but if you are sexually active and they do not, it is wise for you to request it.

Routine STI screening is performed regardless of whether or not you are experiencing symptoms of an infection.  Infections are often silent and may be present even when you do not notice any symptoms.  STI screening usually means testing sites that could potentially be infected (throat, genital or anal areas) for chlamydia and gonorrhea with a swab collection; blood tests for HIV and syphilis; and, in women, checking for vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis. A blood test for herpes simplex virus may be recommended, especially if there are symptoms that could indicate herpes or if you have been sexually exposed to an infected partner. Hepatitis A, B and C should also be considered if you have been at risk of infection.

Clarity Testing Clinic offers confidential sexual health medical services for men and women. The clinic provides testing and treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Pap smears, pregnancy tests and limited obstetrical ultrasound.

If you think you have been exposed to an STI, make an appointment today at Clarity Testing Clinic to be tested. Our friendly medical professionals are here to help.

Meet Jenny Gardner

Meet Jenny Gardner

Jenny Gardner is Clarity’s Client Services Director. Here’s a few fun facts to get to know her a bit better:

1. Tell us a little about your family.

My husband, Garvin, and I will be married 46 years this summer and we have 3 sons and 10 grandchildren.  We were childhood sweethearts.  I have 5 sisters and 2 brothers and a wonderful Mom!  We attend Lifeline Wesleyan Church in Greensburg.

2. What is your favorite thing about working at Clarity? 

My favorite thing about working at Clarity is being a part of ministry that serves our communities well.  I am thankful for friendships made and for personal growth. 

3. What hobbies do you have outside of work?

I have several things I enjoy with the newest being ice-skating and watching my family ice-skating, something I hadn’t done for probably 30 years until recently.  I also enjoy gardening, both flowers and vegetables and I enjoy reading.   

4. Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Pretty sure I would be labeled an introvert!

5. What is one of the scariest things you’ve ever done?

Flying to New York to cook at a Church camp for 350-400 people! The scary part was the flying as it was the first time!  At the end of the flight the stewardess offered something to relax me!

6. If you could to eat one food for the rest of your life without getting sick of it, what would it be?

Chicken Tortilla Soup made by my daughter in law! Hmm, I really enjoy dark chocolate with caramel also!

7. What were the last two books you read?

The last two books I have read are “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and “Two Weeks” by Karen Kingsbury.

8. Do you have a favorite quote to share with us?

When I want to speak let me THINK first, “Is it true, is it helpful, is it inspiring, is it necessary, is it kind?” If not, let it be left unsaid.