Painful Bumps: Should I Be Worried?

Painful Bumps: Should I Be Worried?

The scenario goes something like this…

You’ve recently met someone new and ended up engaging in sexual activity before you could get up the courage to suggest that you each get tested for sexually transmitted infections.  If that weren’t a big enough lapse in judgment, you also forgot about the condom.  A couple, slightly nerve-wracking weeks pass and you begin to experience the dreaded sensation of pain associated with a bump in the genital area.  Fear and panic come crashing in like a tidal wave.  You think to yourself, “This can’t be happening to me!” You wonder what to do now.  Should you just ignore it and hope it goes away?  Should you look online and try recommended treatments for herpes?  Should you get tested?

Now, our recommendation to you is:  Take a deep breath.  You’ll get through this and we are here to help.

If you are experiencing something unusual in the genital area after an encounter of unprotected or protected sex, especially with a new partner, getting sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing is the best thing to do for a few reasons:

Peace of mind

Many times individuals are worried about what they might find out if they get tested.  While it is true that sometimes a person’s worst fears are realized, it is also true that the visit might bring good news…no infections and nothing to be concerned about. Often, even when the news is not good, there is a sense of relief that at least the anguish of not knowing is gone.  It is not uncommon for our minds to play tricks on us.  When we are so worried about a possible diagnosis, it is easy to mistake normal bumps for bumps that result from an STI.  It happens all the time.  Allowing a health professional to perform an exam and collect specimens from any sore or a blood draw can actually bring clarity to your situation that many times also brings a reduction in anxiety.

Accuracy of results

If you are experiencing a sore that is caused by the herpes virus, the sooner that sore is swabbed for testing, the greater the chance of getting a good result.  Testing the lesion directly is the best way to know if it was caused by the herpes virus.  As the sore heals, obtaining enough material from the sore may be difficult and the reliability of the test goes down.  Once that lesion or lesions are healed, it is difficult to know what caused that particular outbreak and it is unpredictable when another outbreak will occur.  A blood test can identify if you have been exposed to the herpes virus, but cannot tell you when you were exposed or where on your body your infection is located, oral area or genital area. If a blood test is negative for herpes, it is wise to retest in three months to give the body adequate time to produce the antibodies that the test is designed to identify.  If the repeat test comes back positive, then it is probable that it is a recent infection.

Status awareness

If your worst fears are realized and you are diagnosed with genital herpes or genital warts, the good news is that you are able to limit the spread to others.  Often times something like herpes or HPV genital warts are transmitted to others when one doesn’t even know they are infected.  Many are horrified of the idea of passing on an STI, as if they were being irresponsible or malicious.  The truth is, you can’t fault someone for passing on an infection if they didn’t even know they had it.  However, it is even better to know your status and eliminate the risk of passing anything on to your partner.

Education and Clarity about future options

It is not uncommon for a concern about a painful bump to be the reason for a person’s first visit for STI testing.  That visit can help bring understanding of the risk involved in sexual activity that isn’t always presented in the steamy narratives of movies and music.  Learning steps to take to reduce or eliminate one’s risk for an STI is provided to help you move forward in being the healthiest version of you.

If you would like more information about a genital herpes infection, read here. If you want more information about genital warts, read here.

Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page (put in link) or calling 812-418-3230.

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.

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. (

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:

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.

Oral Sex and STIs

Oral Sex and STIs

Melissa* came in to Clarity Testing Clinic with symptoms of Chlamydia—unusual vaginal discharge, burning with urination and abnormal bleeding.  She wasn’t too surprised when her test result for Chlamydia was positive; her symptoms attested to it and she had recently had unprotected sex with a new partner.  What she was surprised about was the fact that this new partner tested negative.  After her positive test, she dutifully encouraged him to be tested and treated at his local testing center.  He was treated for Chlamydia based on his sexual contact to her, but his Chlamydia test was negative.

“How can this be the case?” she asked.  “He is the only partner I have had in the past year.  My Chlamydia had to have come from him,” she reasoned.

We asked, “Did you receive oral sex from this new partner?”  She answered, “Yes.”  “Was he tested in his throat for Chlamydia?”  “No, only his urine,” she answered.

A look of surprise washed over her face, when she realized that this new partner may have had Chlamydia in his throat when he performed oral sex on her, and he wasn’t tested in that site for Chlamydia.

Melissa asked, “Do you mean it is possible that he only has Chlamydia in his throat, but was only tested in his genital area through his urine?”

“Yes, it is completely possible, and in your situation, most likely the case,” we informed her. “Having every area tested that is at risk for an infection is essential,” we were sure to add.

What are some “take-aways” from Melissa’s experience?

  • There is widespread thinking in today’s sex landscape that oral sex is safe. Of course, it may be safe in preventing pregnancy, but not so in the risk for STIs.
  • Most STIs can be given or received through oral sex: HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hpv, hepatitis A and herpes.
  • If you engage in giving and receiving oral sex, having yours and your partner’s throat tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended.
  • Unprotected oral sex is the norm. The mindset of many is that this activity is safe. This particular patient acknowledged that condoms were never used in her oral sex encounters.
  • Even so, it is still uncertain how effective condoms are in preventing STIs during oral sex, as there have been very few studies that show efficacy rates. Condoms may reduce the risk of an infection, but aren’t guaranteed to eliminate the risk.  Choosing to abstain from sexual activity—including oral sex– until one is in a long-term, mutually faithful relationship (such as marriage) with an uninfected partner is the safest way to avoid sexually transmitted infections.

Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page or calling 812-418-3230.

*A fictitious patient who represents a common scenario at Clarity Testing Clinic.

How much do STI tests cost?

How much do STI tests cost?

Clarity Testing Clinic is part of a nonprofit organization, funded by generous donors who care about you. This allows Clarity Testing Clinic to offer clinic visits, on-site testing and exams, and support at little to no cost to patients. There are no fees for a visit, and no fees for exams performed. Treatment for some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is available in the clinic at no cost.

All testing recommendations are based on an individual evaluation.  Additionally, not all patients require an exam by the nurse.

Male Testing

Chlamydia/Gonorrhea combo – $18

Hepatitis Panel – $60

HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) type 1&2 – $25

Rapid HIV Test – Donor funded

Syphilis – $7

Trichomonas – $25

Female Testing

Bacterial Vaginosis – Donor funded

Chlamydia/Gonorrhea combo – $18

Hepatitis – $60

HPV Co-Testing with PAP – $35

HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) type 1&2 – $25

Liquid Based PAP test – $14

Pregnancy Test – Donor funded

Rapid HIV Test – Donor funded

Syphilis – $7

Trichomonas – Donor funded

Urine Dipstick – Donor funded

Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page or calling 812-418-3230.