Modified: April 10, 2019 9:07am
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date: April 9, 2019
CONTACT: Kara Kane, Public Information Officer
TALK, TEST AND TREAT: APRIL IS STD AWARENESS MONTH
Erie County Department of Health Encourages Residents to Seek Testing and Treatment for STDs
ERIE COUNTY, NY—“Talk, test and treat” is a short but powerful phrase. For STD Awareness Month in April, these words are tools to begin the conversation about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among patients, their partners and their health care providers.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported sharp increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases in the United States for a fourth straight year. In 2018 Erie County saw 5,518 chlamydia cases, 2,253 gonorrhea cases, and 88 early syphilis cases. Young people ages 15-24 make up about half of all new STD cases each year. This makes educational outreach in schools and on college campuses incredibly important.
The Erie County Department of Health is committed to reducing the cases of STDs in Erie County through education, testing and treatment. “Bacterial STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can be cured, and viral STDs, such as herpes and genital warts from HPV, can be treated,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale R. Burstein. “When STDs go untreated, patients are at risk for severe health problems, like infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and an increased risk for HIV. We can even prevent a few STDs before people are exposed, such as HPV, through immunization.”
“We want ‘Talk, Test and Treat’ to be at the top of patients’ minds as they go to the doctor’s office,” Burstein continued. “This is an important phrase for patients and providers to remember when they discuss overall health and specific concerns, especially for young adults.”
The American Sexual Health Association offers these conversation starters for patients as they seek STD testing:
- “I want to be screened for my own piece of mind. I’d like to be tested for…”
- “I’m about to start having sex with someone new, and we’d both like to be tested first. I’d like to be tested for…”
- “I’m worried I may have been exposed to something. I would like to be tested for…”
- Talk openly with sexual partner(s) and health care providers about sex and STDs.
- Get tested. Because many STDs have no symptoms, getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an infection.
- If you test positive for an STD, work with your doctor to get the correct treatment. Some STDs can be cured with the right medication. Those that aren’t curable can be treated.
Healthcare providers can:
- Talk with patients about sexual health and safe sex practices, and answer their questions using facts and data.
- Test patients as recommended by CDC.
- Offer the CDC-recommended treatments for any STDs and giving reminders to use condoms correctly every time a patient has sex, have fewer partners, or abstain from sex.
All sexually active individuals, particularly young people, should have STD screening and prompt treatment (if infected) as part of their routine medical care. Testing and treatment are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others. For confidential STD screening or any additional comprehensive sexual health care services, contact the ECDOH STD Clinic at (716) 858-7687.
For more information:
- Erie County Department of Health: http://www2.erie.gov/health
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Clinic: http://www2.erie.gov/health/index.php?q=sexually-transmitted-disease-clinics, Jesse Nash Health Center, 608 William Street, Buffalo, NY 14206