STD Awareness Month: Talk About It!
April 24, 2019
Did you know that April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month? Thanks to this campaign, the month of April serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of your sexual health, which includes you and your partner communicating about your sexual histories, getting tested for STDs and practicing safer sex, if you choose to have sex. STD Awareness Month can also help bring attention to the work being done to better treat and cure STDs!
First, some numbers. Around 20 million Americans get an STD each year, with young people ages 15 to 24 making up about half of that number, according to the American Sexual Health Association! But, according to a recent survey, only 12 percent of young people had been tested for STDs in the prior year. Campaigns like STD Awareness Month hope to change these numbers.
STDs can have serious health consequences, but this can be avoided with open communication. Even though it might feel a little awkward, it’s very important to talk to your partner about getting tested before having sex and using safer sex methods, like external or internal condoms and dental dams, if you choose to have sex. Talking to a health care provider when it comes to testing and treatment is equally important. In order to take charge of your sexual health, you should be open and honest with your health care provider about your sexual history and any symptoms you may have (and keep in mind that there are often no symptoms when it comes to STDs). By being proactive with a health care provider, you can work together to figure out the best plan of action.
Something else to be aware of when it comes to STDs is the amazing research that’s happening around the world. For instance, for the second time in history, a patient with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has entered remission following a stem cell transplant. Although many point out that this may never be a large-scale treatment for HIV because of its risks, this shows that a cure for HIV is possible! A researcher at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico City also recently presented another surprising discovery. She reported on a non-invasive treatment for human papillomavirus (HPV), some strains of which can lead to cervical cancer. Her method, which uses a form of light therapy to kill infected cells, is currently being tested further. (Just a reminder that the HPV vaccine protects you from certain strains of HPV that can lead to cancer.)
Continued research hopefully will improve STD prevention and treatment. In the meantime, remember—you can minimize your risk of contracting an STD by communicating with your partner, getting tested and always practicing safer sex.
To learn more about how to start a conversation about STDs, check out our communication tool. And to find a health center near you, visit our clinic finder.
Posted In: HIV/AIDS & STDs
Tags: STD testing | STD treatment | STD Awareness Month | STD prevention