April is STI awareness month!
Did you know?? Half of all sexually active individuals will contract an Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) by the age of 25. STIs are common, but many people are unaware that they have an STI because they don’t have any symptoms. But, STIs are more common than you may think!
The three most common STIs—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are surging across the United States, according to the CDC. Young adults are the most likely to contract a STI. In fact, the CDC estimates 15-24-year olds account for half of all new sexually transmitted infections each year. Howard County is no exception. In 2017 alone, there were 775 reported cases of chlamydia, and 101 reported cases of gonorrhea among this same age group.
STIs can be contracted by vaginal, oral, and anal sex. If condoms are not used, or you have multiple intimate partners, you are at a greater risk for contracting an STIs. Some STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea have no symptoms. This means people can have the STI and may not know. Long term, untreated STIs can lead to reproductive health complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. Untreated STIs can also increase the chances of contracting HIV,or passing it to a partner if you are living with HIV.
So, if you say “yes” to sex then you should also say “yes” to being screened for STIs regularly. This is the perfect time to check your own status! Instead of living in fear, know your status- GET SCREENED!
If you’re a Howard County Public high school student, you can get a free, confidential screening kit called: I Want the Kit. Ask your school nurse or click here to learn more about how to get your kit. There are many clinics like the Howard County Health Department all over that offer low cost or free testing!
Find a testing site near you! Click here.