The Henry and Stark County Health Departments and their First Choice Healthcare Clinics in Kewanee and Colona note that April is STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) Awareness Month. This theme for STD Awareness Month 2021 is “Talk. Test. Treat.” This year’s theme encourages individuals to learn about STDs and STD prevention, but just as importantly, to empower them to ask their healthcare provider what they can do – and how they can work together – to stay safe and healthy.
With an estimated 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occurring every year in the US, it is clear that STDs remain a widespread health threat in this country.
In addition, STD infections cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. And it's America's youth that is shouldering the substantial burden of these infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of all new STDs in the country occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24.
With all these disturbing statistics it is obvious that STD Awareness Month is an opportune time to remind area residents that the First Choice Healthcare Clinics offer confidential:
STD Testing for Males and Females
Treatment of STDs
Preventative immunizations against such STDs as Hepatitis B and HPV ~ Counseling, Education, and Referral
Expedited Partner Treatment
Testing and knowledge of infection are vital to reducing the incidence and spread of STDs. Because many infections have no symptoms, those at risk need to get tested and find out if they are infected.
There are many actions you can take to protect yourself and others from STDs:
Abstinence - The most reliable way to avoid infection with an STD are to abstain from sex or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
Correct and consistent use of condoms - Consistent use of latex condoms reduces the risk of HIV and other STDs. (Free Supplies are available through First Choice Healthcare clinics in Kewanee and Colona.)
Screening - Getting tested and treated for STDs can protect you from serious health consequences caused by STDs. (STD Testing available at both First Choice Healthcare Clinics.)
Immunizations - Receiving recommended Hepatitis B and HPV immunizations can almost completely prevent infections covered by the vaccines.
Though the subject of STDs may not be a comfortable healthcare issue to discuss, we want people to remember that our First Choice Healthcare locations in Kewanee and Colona are sources of confidential testing, treatment, and education. And we are literally just a phone call away. People should know we offer the tools and services people need to stay healthy.
For more information or appointments call First Choice Healthcare at (309) 852-5272 (Kewanee) or 792-4011 (Colona).