STD Awareness Week, observed during the second full week of April, is an opportunity to raise awareness about STDs, reduce stigmas and fears, and ensure your community has the tools and knowledge to prevent, test for, and treat STDs.
From 2014-2018, the CDC found that many STD cases continued to increase. During this time period, Syphilis cases increased by 81%, Gonorrhea cases increased by 67%, and Chlamydia cases remained at record highs.
This year, STD Awareness Week is April 12-18, 2020 and consists of several different themes.
The first is “GYT: Get Yourself Tested,” a campaign encouraging young people to get tested and treated for STDs and HIV as a way to protect their own health and that of their partner(s). Studies have found that teens don’t always talk to their parents and healthcare providers about issues related to sex and sexuality, due to fear and stigma. Many clinics, such as Caring Communities, can provide free and confidential testing. If you are unsure of which STDs you should be tested for, you can find more information here.
The second theme for STD Awareness Week is “Syphilis Strikes Back,” devoted exclusively to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of syphilis. In 2000, the U.S. reached historic lows of syphilis cases. However, by 2018 the United States had the highest number and rate of primary and secondary (the most infectious stages) syphilis cases in 20 years. Since 2014, cases of congenital syphilis (which is when a baby is born with syphilis) has more than doubled.
The third theme for this week is “Talk. Test. Treat.” This campaign encourages individuals and healthcare providers to take three simple actions as a means to protect their health and that of their partners. It is also a reminder that STDs are preventable and treatable. Not sure where to start or how to talk about these things? The CDC has put together a resource that will help you discuss these topics with your partner(s) and your healthcare provider.
The final theme included in STD Awareness Week is “Treat Me Right,” a campaign that encourages both healthcare providers and patients to foster a trusting relationship with one another. Not only should you be working with a healthcare provider who is respectful and understanding, but you should also be able to trust your healthcare provider to recommend preventative services and practices. When you discuss sex as it relates to your health, there are a few questions you should be prepared to answer honestly. Here is a guide of what you might be asked and what to look for in a trustworthy healthcare provider.
At this time, Caring Communities cannot provide our usual in-office STD screenings and tests, however if you are concerned about potential STD symptoms, you can contact our Clinical Operations Director, Sean, at 570-899-3536 to learn what resources may be available to you.