STD Awareness Month: What Patients Should Know About Sexually Transmitted Diseases

April is the start of STD Awareness Month, where healthcare organizations across the country try to educate the public about the importance of testing, what they should know about STDs, and how to create a healthier outcome from STD prevention.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains that STD Awareness Month is aimed at helping curb the sudden rise of STDs since 2013. The CDC reports that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all sharply increased; In 2017 alone, more than two million of these infections have been reported by sexually active adults.

At AFC Urgent Care Denver, we’re here to help get the word out and make sure our patients have all the up-to-date knowledge on how to prevent and manage STDs. So what can patients do to reduce their risks of STDs this April and what are some of the most effective ways to educate people about STDs?

We’ve broken down some of the CDC’s major campaigns to build STD awareness and help our patients maintain peak reproductive health:

Encourage younger adults to get tested for STDs

younger patient looks over STD test results with provider

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The Get Yourself Tested campaign is aimed to teach younger adults about how easy and stress-free it is to get STD tests and screenings.

STDs disproportionately affect younger adults that are newer to sexual intercourse and understanding how to safely have sex. Additionally, young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have the highest rates of STDs in the U.S.

Patients, parents, and other healthcare stakeholders can use the campaign materials, such as briefs and guides, to show that STD tests are usually a quick and non-invasive way to identify potential STDs. For example, the CDC has a simple fact sheet that makes it easy to explain to younger adults about the benefits of getting tested.

Open dialogue about STDs with your sexual partner and doctor to coordinate STD tests

patient evaluates STD risks with doctor

The Talk, Test, Treat campaign from the CDC helps to explain the importance of an open dialogue for STD testing with sexual partners and providers.

Both sexual partners should be transparent and open about their previous STD history, risks, and lifestyle factors to help address any potential diseases. A private and respectful dialogue can make it much easier to address STD risks and establish safe sex guidelines.

Additionally, speaking with a medical professional with your partner can also help provide detailed recommendations and guidelines about which types of STDs to screen for. An informed screening driven by respectful dialogue can help put patients at ease and lower the stress of STD risks.

Initiate discussions about syphilis risks for specific populations including expectant mothers and newborns

expectant mother looks at sonogram

The CDC’s Syphilis Strikes Back Campaign is a specialized cause to help many groups of vulnerable patients prevent syphilis. Syphilis is not a common disease, but it has resurged in recent years affecting groups including newborns, expectant mothers, and members of the LGBT community.

The campaign materials are a great way to help patients know their immediate risks of contracting syphilis. For example, pregnant women are encouraged to remain in a monogamous relationship, maintain abstinence when possible, reduce the number of  sexual partners, and get additional screenings for their child.

Additionally, the CDC encourages family members and friends to spread the word about any possible risks for syphilis since it has made somewhat of a comeback.

Become an informed and empowered patient

female patient discusses STD testing with doctor
The final component of the CDC’s STD Awareness Month is the Treat Me Right campaign, which aims to encourage providers and patients to create the best possible healthcare experience.

Treat Me Right encourages providers to create a private, comfortable, and trustworthy environment for their patients. Additionally, the campaign heavily focuses on how patients should proactively seek out the best possible healthcare experience for managing STDs.

A trustworthy and high-quality healthcare provider is ideal to help patients navigate potentially sensitive and private sexual matters related to STD safety. For patients, it helps to find a provider that has the following characteristics:

Addresses you and any questions you have in a respectful and understanding manner

Listens to your opinions and concerns

Encourages questions or inquiries

Explains complicated medical jargon or terms easily

Recommended preventive care and similar services

Treats other health problems including STDs

Refers to a specialist when necessary

Ultimately, patients should not only take their STD needs seriously but they should also align them with other important medical services. If a provider fails to do these things, then it may be time to find another medical professional.

For patients living in the Greater Denver Area, you should consider any of our AFC Urgent Care Denver centers if you’re looking for respectful and high-quality care.

Our staff is led by board-certified physicians to help provide the best possible STD care, bedside manner, and address any other needs you have related to your overall health. In addition, all patients at AFC Urgent Care Denver never require an appointment and can been seen in just a few minutes.

However, patients that need extra time to plan an appointment should use any of the buttons below to schedule a time slot. For STD Awareness month, come visit AFC Denver to make your community healthier and STD-free!

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