This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
Carson City, it’s time to talk about something personal; it’s time to address a taboo subject. Sexual health is part of overall well-being, and we need to have “the talk.” Don’t be embarrassed. Carson City Health and Human Services is joining with providers across the country to observe National STD Awareness Month, and we want you to join us, too.
Every year, 20 million people are infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Over half of those are ages 15-24, which highlights the need for better education and prevention efforts.
The best way to avoid the negative health outcomes and stress associated with sexually transmitted diseases is to avoid being infected in the first place. Abstinence — choosing to not have sex — is the only 100 percent effective way to keep from getting an STD or having an unwanted pregnancy.
If you do choose to be sexually active, do so responsibly, to protect your health and the health of your partner or partners. Use protection with every partner, every time. When used correctly, condoms are a good choice for preventing the spread of STDs. Also, limit the number of partners you have to reduce your risk of getting an STD.
Most STDs have no signs or symptoms, so if you have one, it’s easy to pass an infection along to your partner without knowing it. Additionally, even STDs with no symptoms can cause long-term health consequences, such as certain types of cancer and infertility. Getting an STD test is the only way to know for certain if you are infected. Testing is recommended annually or whenever you have a new partner.
Testing is quick and easy. Testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea takes only a urine sample, and results are returned usually in a few days. Carson City Health and Human Services offers affordable, confidential testing and treatment for STDs in both our clinic locations. If you do have an STD, knowing about your infection can help you receive the treatment you need to stay healthy.
To schedule an appointment for STD testing, call the clinic at 775-887-2195. For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CCHHS.