April Is STD Awareness Month
Observed every April across the United States, STD Awareness Month aims to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while removing the stigma surrounding them.
While progress has been made, much work remains to be done. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have been on the rise since 2013.
However, it’s important to note there are many ways to prevent contracting and transmitting STDs and STIs. It’s also important to note that most are curable and all are treatable and manageable.
To keep yourself and your partner(s) safe and healthy, check out the five tips below.
How to Support STD Awareness Month
1. Stay Informed
Arming yourself with information on STDs and STIs is the first step to protecting yourself and others.
Simply researching online (using trustworthy, reputable sources) to become familiar with the basics — warning signs, common symptoms, precautions to take, whether you may be predisposed to contracting anything — is a smart way to stay informed and proactive about your reproductive and sexual health.
2. Get Tested
If you’ve never been tested for STDs and STIs, it’s a good idea to do so, even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. The CDC recommends that all adults between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once; other testing recommendations can be found here.
Many people with STDs or STIs are unaware that they have them and, therefore, run the risk of transmitting them to others.
It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your sexual partner(s). If you have any STDs or STIs, your partner should be made of aware of this so you both can take any necessary precautions and receive necessary testing or treatment.
Fostering openness in this way isn’t just good for physical health — it’s crucial to building a caring, honest relationship.
4. Find a Trusted Health Care Provider
Whether you’re being tested as a precautionary measure, seeking an HPV vaccination, or need treatment for an existing STI or STD, it’s important to work with a health care provider you trust. Research online, ask friends for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to ask questions during your appointment.
Obtaining all the information you can will provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re getting the best treatment or testing for your specific needs. Keep this in mind: If something feels “off” during your appointment, trust your gut and seek help elsewhere.
5. Get Involved
If you’re looking to become involved in raising awareness of STDs and STIs and to support those in need of treatment and other resources, start small by putting out the word on social media, sharing hashtags such as #STDMONTH and #TreatMeRight to start the conversation and break down the stigmas still surrounding STDs and STIs.
You may also wish to take part in a fundraiser event, such as the annual AIDS Walk.
Learn More About STDs and STIs
To learn more about STIs and STDs, discuss your specific needs with a health care professional to find out how you can best protect yourself and your partner(s), and get in touch with the team at Pacific Family Practice today.
We offer primary care, women’s health, and pediatric/newborn health care services for patients of all ages and backgrounds, as well as urgent care services.