April is STD Awareness Month
April is STD Awareness Month, a yearly observance to raise awareness about the impact of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the health of all Americans.
To reduce the impact of STDs, it is important to increase knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and make STD testing a part of routine medical care. Because many STDs have no symptoms, those at risk need to get tested and find out if they are infected.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs, especially among young women. CDC recommends that all sexually active women younger than age 26 get tested for Chlamydia once a year. Women who are older than 26-years-old should be tested if they have a new or multiple sex partners.
Getting tested and treated for Chlamydia can reduce new cases of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) by over 50 percent, according to a study in a managed care setting. Women with PID can experience pregnancy complications, infertility, chronic pain, and irreversible damage to their reproductive organs. Reducing the impact of PID among women also requires men to be tested and treated for Chlamydia to reduce new cases. Recent studies have shown that many young women who have been diagnosed with Chlamydia may become re-infected by male partners who have not been diagnosed or treated.
CDC's Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines recommends that sex partners of infected patients be treated to prevent re-infection of the patient and transmission of the infection to others and those with Chlamydia be re-tested for the infection approximately three months after treatment. CDC also recommends that sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM) be tested for chlamydia, as well as syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV at least annually.
Health care providers should take a sexual health history of their patients and follow up with appropriate counseling, vaccination, testing, and if needed, treatment for STDs. Increased prevention efforts, including screening, are critical to reducing the serious health consequences of STDs.
Learn more about STDs, STD Awareness Month, and where you can find the nearest STD testing site in your area, here.