The second full week of April serves as the annual observation of STI Awareness Week. This year it runs from April 11-17, 2021 and includes several themes encouraging our communities to know their status and maintain their health.
Our focus this year is on “Talk, Test, and Treat,” a set of three simple actions that can help protect your sexual health!
We encourage everyone to talk as openly as possible about their sexual health! This means having on-going conversations with your partner(s).
Here are some ways you and your partner(s) can make sex safer:
- Be open about if one of you has an STI or HIV, if it is safe to do so.
- Talk about the last time you were tested for an STI. Would you be willing to get tested together?
- Discuss only having sex with each other to reduce potential STI exposures.
- Use condoms the correct way for every sex act, through the entire sex act
Remember to be open with your healthcare provider as well! Be sure to ask questions if you don’t understand or need more information. Not all medical appointments include STI testing, so it’s important that you don’t assume you’ve been tested. Ask about an STI test! You can also discuss if certain vaccines (like the hepatitis B or HPV vaccines) are right for you. Be sure you and your provider are on the same page with your preventative care.
Here are some common questions you might be asked by a provider in regard to your sexual health:
- Have you been sexually active in the last year?
- What genders do you have sex with?
- In the past year, how many sexual partners have you had?
- Do you have anal, oral, or vaginal sex?
- What are you doing to protect yourself from STIs?
Getting tested is the only way to know if you have an STI. Many common STIs show no symptoms, so it is possible to have an STI and not know it. If you are sexually active, getting an STI test is one of the most important things you can do to protect your sexual health.
Testing can be done at your regular healthcare provider’s office or at other agencies and clinics that offer low-cost or free testing. You can check here for testing providers near you.
If you test positive for an STI, a healthcare provider should be able to help. Some STIs are able to be cured with the right medicine. Others, like hepatitis B or HIV, are not curable, but can be managed with the correct treatment.
When taking medication or treatment for an STI, is it incredibly important to take all of the medication you’ve been prescribed, even if you start to feel better or your symptoms go away. You should also never share your medicine with others and be sure to avoid sex until you and your partner(s) have all completed treatment.
Caring Communities is here to help with all of these elements!
Our clinic team makes sure you understand your test before, during, and after, including delivering results and helping you schedule any follow-up appointments for treatment that may be needed. We offer confidential STI/HIV testing, and full STI panels for less common infections and physical exams with our Nurse Practitioners.
Treatments are available for several STIs including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. We also offer Case Management services for those who are living with HIV, including helping clients access anti-retroviral treatment, laboratory services, and other medical needs including transportation to medical appointments and help with staying on medication.
If you are in need of clinic or case management services, please call 570-829-2700. Clinic appointments can also be made via our online scheduler.