STD Awareness Month Family Practice CenterThis April, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is emphasizing information about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as part of STD awareness month. Sexual health is an incredibly important part of our overall health. It’s important for people to feel physically and emotionally safe in sexual relationships. That’s why our healthcare providers are happy to help. We understand that conversations about sex can be uncomfortable for some people, but this information can be an integral part of maintaining a person’s general health and wellness. That’s why we wanted to provide some essential information about sexually transmitted diseases.

Sexually transmitted diseases are more common than many people may realize. The most common STDs include gonorrhea, chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, herpes, and HIV. Although many STDs can be successfully treated, untreated infections can cause lasting complications. Some people with an STD will experience symptoms like genital burning, discharge, or rashes, but many STDs may not have any noticeable symptoms. That’s why prevention is so important when it comes to stopping the spread of STDs.

The best way to prevent the spread of STDs is to practice safe sex and receive regular STD testing to ensure that you and your partner(s) are free from any infection. Condom use during sex is highly recommended. Depending on your risk factors, getting testing for STDs every 3-12 months can be highly beneficial. You should be tested if you have a new sexual partner(s), a known STD exposure, or if you have developed any symptoms that might suggest an STD.  Most tests can be done from urine or blood, but in some circumstances, oral, genital, or rectal swabs may be required. Having open conversations with your healthcare provider can help determine the appropriate intervals for STD testing.

Another potentially helpful prevention step could be the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a form of preventive medicine designed to reduce the spread of HIV by taking antiviral pills on a daily basis or around a period of possible exposure. PrEP is generally appropriate for people having sex with a partner(s) who may be HIV positive, however additional safety steps like wearing a condom in this scenario is obviously of critical importance.

If you’re interested in talking more about PrEP or any other STDs please know that the healthcare providers here at Family Practice Center are here to help. Rest assured, we treat all of our patients with the highest level of respect, courtesy, and discretion in all matters. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, please contact Family Practice Center today. You can follow us on Facebook for additional health tips, news, and much more.