STI Awareness Month
Three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, are surging across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Young people are especially hit hard. In fact, because reported cases only account for a fraction of the national burden, CDC estimates people between 15 to 24 years of age account for half of all new STIs each year. Georgia State University students are also at risk for STIs. Based on data from the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment, 70 percent of Georgia State University student’s report engaging in sexual activity in the previous 12 months and only 41 percent of students report consistent use of barrier methods (i.e. internal or external condoms).
The consequences of STIs are especially severe. Untreated STIs can increase a person’s risk of getting HIV or passing it to a partner if they’re living with HIV. Additionally, chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms leading to many infections going undiagnosed and potentially resulting in lifelong repercussions. For example, a person’s reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility, can be compromised by STIs.
Early detection through testing is key to avoiding these consequences. Student Health Promotion at Georgia State University is collaborating with the CDC campaign, #GYT Get Yourself Tested, to encourage STI testing.
Student Health Promotion offers free HIV and STI testing. This month, we have a limited supply of rapid syphilis screening. Please contact Student Health Promotion at 404-413-1577 to schedule an appointment. The CDC’s online testing locator can also be used to find a convenient testing site that is free or low cost.
Getting tested for STIs is one of the most important things a person can do to protect their health but it’s not the only thing. There are several ways to prevent STIs. The most reliable way is to not have sex (vaginal, oral or anal), but there are many other effective options: talking openly with partners about STIs, using condoms the right way from start to finish and reducing the number of sexual partners. Those who test positive for an STI should get treated right away and be sure their partner is also treated in order to lower the risk of getting infected again.
Follow @BeWellGSU on social media and #STDMonth #SaferSexGSU for information about upcoming testing days.