April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month, an annual observance to raise public awareness of the impact of STDs on the lives of Americans and the importance of preventing, testing, and treating STDs.
In an effort to normalize regular STD testing and conversations about sexual health, the GYT: Get Yourself Tested Campaign is targeted towards the youth of America to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle, according to itsyoursexlife.com
According to ashasexualhealth.org, there are an estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted infections per year. Half of all new STDs in this country occur among young people ages 15-24, even though this specific age group represents only 25 percent of the sexually active population.
Many STDs cause no symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested. For example, 70-95 percent of women and 90 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. On average, people with HIV don’t develop symptoms of HIV for 10 years. STDs can still be passed on to partners, even if the person isn’t showing symptoms.
Without treatment, STDs can lead to serious health problems. Verywellhealth.com notes that some examples are infertility and even cancer. Having an untreated STD (like herpes or gonorrhea) can also increase the chances of getting HIV. Using condoms during sex consistently and correctly provides protection against STDs. Condoms are also most effective in reducing the chance of getting STDs transmitted by genital fluids, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and HIV.
Some of the diseases and infections are listed below.
So, Let’s Talk
Safe sex is about consent, being informed, taking protective measures to prevent both pregnancy and STDs, and good communication with your partner. Getting tested for STDs is an important first step in ensuring both partners remain healthy and safe.
Itsyoursexlife.com suggests that partners should talk to each other about when they were last tested, and then go get tested together, since evidence of STDs can be masked and those who are sexually active could have contracted an STD from their previous relationship.
Open communication between partners is important for each other’s relationship and is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of STDs.
Almost all STDs and HIV are treatable and curable. The sooner students know about their sexual health, the better they can protect their health and the health of their partner.
To find a testing site, visit gettested.cdc.gov.