April is STD Awareness Month
March 25, 2005
TUBA CITY, AZ. - The month of April is designated as STD Awareness Month to help raise awareness of the widespread prevalence of these infections. Did you know that sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are spreading throughout the United States at an estimated rate of 12 to 15 million new cases each year? It's true. And among these are at least five million new papillomavirus (genital warts) infections, three to four million new cases of chlamydia, 800,000 gonorrhea infections, and 500,000 herpes infections. Other STDs include AIDS (HIV), syphilis, trichomonas and hepatitis (hepatitis B virus). Some STDs are treatable, while others such as HIV/AIDS and herpes result in lifelong infections.
Other eye-opening statistics include:
At least one in four Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
Two-thirds of all STDs occur in people 25 years of age or younger.
It is estimated that as many as one in four Americans have genital herpes, yet at least 80 percent of those with herpes are unaware they have it.
Overall, herpes is the most common STD in the United States, with more than 45 million individuals having this lifelong virus.
"One of the greatest responsibilities that we have is to educate our community about STDs and help them understand that they have control over many of the health risks in their lives," said Alvina Rosales, Acting Chief Nursing Officer at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation. "Many STDs have no symptoms or are too minor to see. All too often, the person is unaware that they have an STD. We encourage people to get tested. Many of the screening tests are simple and only require a urine test and/or blood work."
To help prevent STDs and their spread, remember these key points:
Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in reducing the risk of STDs.
STD testing is available throughout Northern Arizona at doctor's offices, family planning clinics, and many hospitals.
Tuba City hospital offers screening for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitis at no charge for Native American patients.
The toll-free STD hotline for Arizona that provides information about STDs is (800) 342-2437.
"STD testing at our clinics is confidential and results are provided directly to the patient. No information is given over the phone so patients don't have to fear that others will find out," said Lorraine Scott, TCRHCC Nursing Assistant and Certified HIV Counselor. "Untreated STDs can result in serious complications, such as infertility or more serious conditions. I join other Arizona State health officials in urging the public to get tested."