Ginger Bane, Nurse Practitioner
April is STD (sexually transmitted disease) Awareness Month. Preventing STDs may sound like a no-brainer, but STDs are more common than you might realize. People do not walk around with a scarlet letter indicating they have chlamydia, herpes, or HIV. The reality is that people often have no signs or symptoms that they have an STD making transmission easy.
So how do you protect yourself?
Talk openly with your partner. Know their history and ask them to be tested. You should get tested after unprotected sexual contact, with new signs or symptoms, and before starting a new relationship.
Use condoms. Condoms do not protect against all STDs because there is still skin on skin contact, but condoms can significantly reduce your chance of catching an STD.
Know the facts and the signs and symptoms of STDs. Many do not cause symptoms or only cause mild symptoms that you might attribute to a urinary tract infection, yeast infection, or razor burn. Genital herpes is a great example. The majority of people are unaware they have genital herpes (as high as 87% do not know). Asymptomatic people can still spread the virus and there is no way to know when asymptomatic viral shedding occurs – this means someone with herpes is potentially always contagious! The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has great resources. Contact our office with any questions or to schedule an appointment for STD screening.