Tag Archives: STIs

Ashamed to Ask About STDs?

Perhaps you’ve heard that STDs are a serious and growing problem. Maybe you know that young people between the ages of 15-24 account for half of the 20 million new STD infections that occur in the U.S. each. And you might have heard that one in four sexually active adolescent females has an STD.

But you probably still feel like it can’t happen to you. Most of us do.

Ashamed to ask about STDs?
Nearly 9 in 10 young women don’t think they’re vulnerable to getting STDs. But statistics show they are. (Photo by Daniel Spase on Unsplash.)

Nearly 9 in 10 young women don’t think they’re vulnerable to getting chlamydia or gonorrhea. But statistics say they are.

We don’t like to talk about STDs. And we usually feel like we don’t have to. Most people who have chlamydia don’t know it since chlamydia often has no symptoms. It’s the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In Wisconsin alone, there were nearly 27,000 cases of chlamydia in 2016, a 10% increase over 2015. And while there were only about 6,500 cases of gonorrhea, that was a 24% increase over the previous year.

But it’s easy to ignore the numbers. Who wants to ask about getting tested when they feel fine?

But did you know?

Cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are at an all-time high. Left untreated, STDs can cause:

  • Increased risk of giving or getting HIV
  • Long-term pelvic and/or abdominal pain
  • Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy complications

Testing is the only way to know if you have an STD.

During STD Awareness Month, we are spreading the word about preventing STDs. The good news is, STDs are preventable.

What can you do? Some tips from the CDC:

  • First, get tested. First Care Clinic provides free STI/STD testing for women in Madison, Wisconsin. Call or text 608-259-1605 or click to request an appointment. If you’re looking for STD testing for men, one option is Dane County public health.
  • The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. To reduce your risk, agree to have sex with only one, committed, long-term partner who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD. Talk with your partner about STDs before having sex. This might not be a comfortable conversation but having this conversation is important.
  • Get vaccinated for HPV. HPV is the most common STD. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective and can help you avoid HPV-related health problems like genital warts and some cancers.
  • If you test positive, getting an STD is not the end! Many STDS are curable and all are treatable.

Have further questions? Check out “Questions about STDs?” or read the CDC’s lowdown on STD prevention.

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Questions about STDs?

Do you have questions about STDs? Or wonder if you might have one and not know it?

April is STD Awareness Month. There is good reason to be aware of the risks associated with sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Infection rates in the United States continue to climb. Young people aged 15-24 account for about half of the nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections each year, according to the CDC.

The approximately 1.5 million cases of chlamydia reported in 2015 represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC. Substantial increases were also seen among reported cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.

Also according to the CDC, women and infants are at significant risk for long-term consequences of STDs. For some women maintaining the relationship with her partner may take a higher priority than STD risk reduction, thereby affecting her sexual and reproductive health, as well as the health of her unborn baby if she is pregnant.

So what can you do about it?

First, know the facts.

A few answers to common questions:

Q. I don’t have any symptoms. Can I still have an STD or STI?

A. Yes. While you may have symptoms such as vaginal itching, vaginal discharge or red sores with an STD, some common STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, often do not have symptoms. Most people who have chlamydia do not know it.

Q. How does someone get an STD or STI?

A. You get an STD or STI by having sex with someone who has that sexually transmitted disease or infection. Having sex means having anal, oral or vaginal contact.

Q. Can I prevent an STD by washing or douching after sex?

A. No.

Q. How do I know if I should get tested for an STD?

A. If you are sexually active, you should be tested. See the CDC’s guidelines for how often to get tested for various sexually transmitted infections. First Care Clinic offers comprehensive STD testing for women free of charge. Call or text 608-259-1605 to make an appointment to get tested.

Q. What do I do if I have an STD?

A. Many STDs are curable and all are treatable. First Care Clinic or your health care provider can recommend and prescribe specific treatment for you.

There is good news. STDs are preventable. There are things you can do to avoid getting or passing on an STD.

The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. To reduce your risk, agree to have sex with only one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Read the CDC’s “Lowdown” infographic for more about how to prevent STDs.

Request an Appointment