Celebrate Valentine's Day by Showing You Care: Know Your Status
Bay Area Health Officials Urge Precautions in Light of STD Increase
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
This Valentine's Day, Bay Area health officials remind everyone who is sexually active to have a conversation with their primary care provider and to be screened regularly for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Across the country and in California, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have been increasing for the past five years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California has the highest number of STD cases among all states. Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have increased in Contra Costa since 2012, and there are around 100 new HIV cases in the county every year.
Having an untreated STD can increase your risk of HIV infection, fertility problems, long-term pelvic or abdominal pain and complications in pregnancy. It is common to have an STD without experiencing any symptoms, which is why getting tested is an important way to protect yourself and prevent passing along an infection.
"Knowing your HIV and STD status helps you make important decisions about your sexual health," said Dr. Tom Warne, deputy health officer for Contra Costa Health Services. "We now have safer and more effective ways to prevent and treat HIV. For people who are HIV-negative, using condoms and the HIV-prevention medicines used for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) can keep them and their partner(s) safe from getting the virus through sex."
Contra Costa residents should talk to their health care provider to find out if PrEP is right for them or contact a PrEP Navigator at 925-313-6771.
STDs are preventable and treatable. The following steps can help everyone reduce their risk:
- Ensure correct and effective condom use for all sexual activity
- Get tested regularly (ask that they test whatever parts of your body that you use for sex including mouth or anus, for instance)
- Get vaccinated to prevent Hepatitis A and B, and Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Have fewer partners, and have open and honest conversations with them about STDs and HIV
- Ask your healthcare provider if PrEP is right for you
If you are sexually active, talk to your provider about being screened for STDs. Most STDs can be treated quickly and effectively by your provider. To find free or affordable confidential testing sites near you, visit gettested.cdc.gov
To learn about free or low-cost STD and HIV screening options in Contra Costa County, call 1-800-479-9664. You can also find information about STD prevention and treatment at cchealth.org/std
For more information about STDs in California, visit www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/STD.aspx
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