April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness month (#STDMonth18). The theme of this year is Treat Me Right (#TreatMeRight). This theme has 2 distinct sides: the provider and the patient. For providers, it means obtaining an accurate medical and social history (including risk-taking behaviors, like sexual activity) for every patient. For patients, it means knowing how to ask providers for the care that they need and deserve, for sexual health as well as all other kinds of health. How to be an independent health care consumer is an important skill to learn for all teens and young adults.
Twenty years ago, it was difficult to avoid information about HIV and AIDS as it was making headlines as a deadly disease passed through sexual activity and shared needle drug use. Today, in many parts of the country young people may only hear about HIV briefly in a school education class or occasional discussion with their parents or doctor. Though many new and easier ways to prevent and to treat HIV infection have been identified, there is still NO cure for HIV. A person with HIV infection still lives with a chronic disease that requires ongoing medication and medical care in order to stay healthy. It is important for everyone to know that HIV still exists and is continuing to infect young people.
While most of us don’t have a problem talking about ear infections, pneumonia, or strep throat, talking about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be a difficult conversation to start and is often considered a taboo topic. Herpes is one of the infections at the top of that list, despite the fact that it’s an infection that can be spread both through sexual and non-sexual contact and that is quite common. Since knowledge is power (and prevention!), today we’re going to spend a little time getting to know more about herpes.
It’s been a big month for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Actor Charlie Sheen announced he has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came out with report describing the sharp increase in many STIs last year, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. And the World Health Organization announced that two-thirds of the world’s population has herpes. Did reading this surprise you, or did you have a different reaction?