April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month
Press release from Kristine Voos, Public Health educator for Genesee County Health Department:
April is STD Awareness Month. Do you know your STD status? If not, you need to GYT!
The annual GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign is under way during Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month, with online and on-the-ground activities across the country. GYT is a national campaign designed to promote sexual health and address the disproportionately high rates of STDs among young people.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 19 million new STD infections occur each year in the United States with almost half of them occurring in young people 15-24 years of age. In fact, one in two sexually active young people in the United States will contract an STD by the time they’re 25 — and most won’t know it. This is why it is important to GYT at least annually and more often if you or your partner participate in risky behaviors.
This month the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, along with community partners want you to know where to get tested locally. If you are sexually active, GYT is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. Make sure you have open and honest conversations about your sexual history and STD testing with your doctor and ask whether you should be tested. If you are not comfortable talking with your regular health care provider about STDs, there are other locations that provide confidential testing.
STD Testing Locations -- Call for details
To make getting tested more convenient Planned Parenthood now has an online appointment scheduling system. Visit www.plannedparenthood.org/healthcenter and enter your zip code to find the health center nearest to you.
· WorkFit Medical, 178 Washington Ave., Batavia, (585) 343-0334
· Batavia Family Care Center, 16 Bank St. (UMMC Jerome Center), Batavia, (585) 815-6760
Some of the consequences of not receiving timely testing and treatment can include infertility, loss of pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, compromised immune system, and damage to organs. It is also important to reduce your risk of contracting STDs through responsible behaviors.
· Abstinence: The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex.
· Get Vaccinated: Vaccines are safe, effective, and recommended ways to prevent Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccines for males and females can protect against some of the most common types of HPV. HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by HPV infection. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV vaccines are recommended for youth starting at age 11 and adults through age 26. You should also get vaccinated for Hepatitis B if you were not vaccinated when you were younger.
· Reduce Number of Sexual Partners: Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and that you share your test results with one another.
· Mutual Monogamy: This means that you agree to be sexually active with only one person, who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. But you must both be certain you are not infected with STDs. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.
· Use Condoms: Correct and consistent use of a condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission. Use a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you have latex allergies, synthetic non-latex condoms can be used. But it is important to note that these condoms have higher breakage rates than latex condoms. Natural membrane condoms are not recommended for STD prevention.Contact your local Health Department (Genesee: 344-2580, ext. 5555 / Orleans 589-3278) to receive free condoms.
· Sterile Needles and Syringes: Persons who inject drugs can substantially reduce their risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood-borne infections by using a sterile needle and syringe for every injection.
For information on STDs contact your primary care provider, local health department or other STD testing location. You can also access accurate information online via NYS Department of Health, CDC and Planned Parenthood.