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April is STD Awareness Month

April is STD Awareness Month and the CDC's division of STD Prevention [DSTDP] is pleased to announce the re-launch of the STD Awareness resource http://www.cdcnpin.org/stdawareness/, formerly the STD Awareness Month website. This website was created for STD prevention partners and stakeholders to support STD prevention outreach and includes many resources to assist local efforts to educate, motivate, and mobilize the community in the prevention of STDs, not just in April, but year-round. Through the site you can access many of prevention materials and download or order them without charge.

Kim's Story

Call from the Clinic - "Hello, my name is Kim, and about 30 minutes ago the "clinic" called my house and informed me that I had Chlamydia. I knew there was something wrong because I have abdominal pain, swollen glands, and some discharge in the past weeks. These symptoms did not come as a surprise based on my sexually active behavior.

Like many students, I have been active in the clubs and party scenes on the weekends in a continuous basis. I go to church on Sundays and attend school during the weekdays because it is required of me. I also work Monday through Friday, and I never thought I would catch something.

The saddest thing to me is that before getting on the Internet, I was thinking to myself, who could have given this to me? The guys were all cute and nice (like that has anything to do with this infection) I was trying to put blame on the least attractive one. The reality is that it was probably the fine guy from the club that all the other girls flocked to, and he just happen to look my way, and one thing let to another.?

I'm so worried cause I have no idea what else I have. I could have anything else, and not know it…do you realize how scary that is? I remember the times when the guys asked me not to use protection cause it "feels better." I wish I could take all that back, and start over, but it's just not possible. I am unfortunately forced to deal with whatever happens to me, because it was my choice.

If I could give advice to all those girls out there, it would be to SLOW DOWN!

All right, that's my story. Hope you take heart cause it's unfortunately s-o-o true.?"

This case is based on a true story of "Chlamydia, The Silent Killer" (the name and story has been augmented to protect the identity of this individual)

What is STD's

Sexually transmitted diseases, also called sexually transmitted infections or (STI's) are very common. Every year there are more than a few thousand new cases locally and 19 million cases of STDs in the U.S. By age 25, an estimated one in two sexually active young adults will get one. Since STDs often show no symptoms, many of those who are infected don't know it. The only way to know if you or a partner has an STD is to get tested. The good news is that all STDs are treatable, and many are curable. Putting off getting care for an STD can have lasting health effects for both women and men. Left untreated, some STDs can cause infertility (that is, make you unable to have children). Some STDs can also cause an increased risk of cancer or even death. And get this—having an STD increases your risk of getting HIV and other STDs if you have sex with an infected partner.

For women, STDs are often confused with yeast infections and other conditions. That's why it's important to see a health care provider if you have any concerns and ask what STDs you should be tested for.

Before you start a new sexual relationship, it's a good idea to talk with your partner about your sexual history and getting tested for STDs. Some STDs are so common that the CDC recommends routine screening. Which STDs should I get tested for? In the case scenario detailed above, she was tested for Chlamydia after the clinic examination and upon the specimen analysis. There is no single test for every STD—tests are specific to each infection. And some infections can be found using more than one type of test. You and your health care provider will decide which STDs you should be tested for. But most importantly you need to speak up and ask to get tested. You can't assume that you have been tested for STDs if you have blood taken, give a urine sample, or (for women) have a pelvic exam or pap smear. You have to specifically ask to be tested.

When you see your health care provider, find out exactly what you are being tested for.

First, remember, all STDs are treatable and many are curable. There are different treatments for different STDs. For some STDs, there are several treatment options. Here are two examples: • If you test positive for Chlamydia, you will be given a prescription for an antibiotic that will cure this case of Chlamydia. You will still be able to get Chlamydia again, if exposed to someone who has it. • If you test positive for herpes, you will always have herpes (virus). But you can take medications to treat the symptoms. Medications are also available to help prevent future outbreaks and minimize their severity, as well as to lower the chances of passing the virus on to partners. You can also join support groups for people with herpes to help you cope and prevent transmission to others. If your results are positive, it is important that you follow the treatment recommended by your health provider—completely. For example, if you're on antibiotics and your symptoms go away, you should still continue your medication until it is finished. Sources: For more information, please visit:

Click to visit the updated STD Awareness Month/Get Yourself Tested (GYT) Campaign website: http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/?utm_source=gytnow For listings of local testing sites in your area, visit http://www.hivtest.org/STDTesting.aspx and type in your zip code. Click to visit the Health Care Agency's Public Health Services website www.ochealthinfo.com

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