In an effort to raise public awareness about the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the importance of preventing, testing for, and treating STDs April is annually observed as STD Awareness Month.
So, what can you do? Talk with your doctor or health care provider about STDs and ask about recommended vaccinations and testing. Untreated STDs can lead to serious long-term health consequences, especially for adolescent girls and young women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the United States each year to become infertile.
With that said, get tested! STDs are often asymptomatic and unrecognized. To find a testing location near you check out www.findSTDtest.org. A number of partners, including MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the CDC, are supporting National STD Awareness Month with the Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Campaign. The GYT Campaign is geared towards young people and STD awareness as well as getting them connected with testing centers. For more information about the GYT Campaign visit www.GYTnow.org.
Just as important? Talk openly and honestly with your partner about STDs. This cannot be stressed enough. The CDC estimates that there are approximately 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.
Also, just as important is the proper use of condoms. Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk of STDs and HIV transmission. Just remember condom use does not provide absolute protection against any STD. The most reliable way to avoid the transmission of STDs is practice abstinence or be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
Sources: cdc.gov, cdcnpin.org