(RxWiki News) How much do you really know about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? Is it enough to motivate you to get tested?
April is STD Awareness Month, and the public, particularly youth, are being encouraged to take an active role in understanding STDs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the organizing groups behind the annual awareness month, there are 19 million new cases of STDs each year in the United States.
"Practice safe sex."
What’s more, the CDC estimates that it costs $17 billion to treat the STDs contracted in only one year.
Perhaps most alarming of all, the CDC reports, “Estimates suggest that even though young people represent only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population, nearly half of all STD cases occur in young people aged 15 to 24.”
Because of these high rates, educating young people about how to prevent STD infections will be a focus of the STD Awareness Month.
One important step is getting tested. According to the CDC, only 38 percent of sexually active American women between the ages of 15 and 25 report that they have been tested for chlamydia in the past year.
The CDC recommends that sexually active women under the age of 25 get tested annually. The organization also recommends that people of all ages and genders discuss getting tested for STDs with their doctors to ensure all of the proper tests are performed.
“The good news is that most STDs are treatable, and many are curable – early detection through testing is key,” reports the CDC. “Yet, stigma, inconsistent or incorrect condom use, access to health care, and a combination of other factors contribute to high rates of STDs among teens and young adults.”
It is hoped that the increased awareness, education and discussion of STDs promoted to American youth during STD Awareness month will help start to break down some of these barriers.
The CDC also recommends abstinence, vaccination, monogamous relationships, condoms and reduced number of sexual partners as effective methods for reducing STD risks.