Talk. Test. Treat.
Wednesday May 15, 2019
As STDs surge across the US, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency says, Talk. Test. Treat.
Three common STDs have increased sharply across the United States for the fourth year in a row. To help reverse this trend, the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is calling on individuals to take these three actions to protect themselves and their partners from STDs: Talk, Test, and Treat.
In 2018, the tri-county area had 443 cases of chlamydia, 98 cases of gonorrhea, and 6 cases of syphilis. More than two million cases of the three STDs combined were reported nationwide.
“Across the nation, this means our work is more important than ever,” says Yvonne Atwood, Director of Personal Health and Disease Prevention. “Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are curable with the right medicines, yet most cases go undiagnosed and untreated – which can lead to severe health problems that include infertility (inability to become pregnant), ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), stillbirth in infants, and increased HIV risk.”
Anyone who has sex can get an STD, but some groups are more affected than others: young people aged 15-24, gay and bisexual men, and pregnant women. Prior studies suggest a range of factors may be at play – from socioeconomic challenges, like poverty, to issues of stigma and discrimination. The Local Health Department offers programs that are intended to protect residents from STD’s; including free condoms that are available to pick up in any of our offices in Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph counties during our regular business hours of Monday – Friday, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. In addition, the health department offers testing services, including Rapid HIV testing and counseling.
The good news? All STDs can be prevented and treated, and most can be cured. Here’s how individuals can add the Talk. Test. Treat. strategy into their health routine:
Talk openly with partner(s) and healthcare 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.
Now is the time to take action to protect your own health, or the health of those around you.