Let’s Get Comfy Talking About STIs! – Having the talk about STIs and sexual health often makes people uncomfortable, but Newsymom’s got the know-how on how you can handle the discussion of reproductive health!
The Talk often makes parents cringe in response. The thoughts running through a parent’s mind are often:
- I don’t want to know if my kids are sexually active.
- I don’t want to encourage sexual behaviors by talking about them.
- Please be abstinent ‘til I’m dead.
Or, some variation of all.
However, it’s CRUCIAL to have the discussions that make you uncomfortable, not only because you’re exemplifying through action… But also because of one major topic on this week’s agenda: STI Awareness.
Chlamydia: The Number One Communicable Disease in Tusc County
Do you know that right here in Tuscarawas County, the number one communicable disease has been Chlamydia? In 2021, a whopping 292 cases of Chlamydia made up 54% of all reportable communicable diseases, other than COVID-19.
More to Worry About Than Pregnancy
Outside the risk of pregnancy, there are tons of STIs and STDs to think about when considering having sex with a new or untested partner. Some of them include:
A common STD (especially for those age 15-24) that can cause infection in the genitals, rectum, and throat. This disease can be cured with the right treatment!
An STD caused by two viruses, HSV-1 and HSV-2, and can be transmitted orally or via sex. There is no cure, but there is medication to help with outbreaks!
Trichomoniasis (AKA Trich) is an infection caused by a parasite. Most people can’t tell they’ve been infected! It’s super common and can be treated.
Syphilis is an STI that can cause serious health problems if left untreated and can pass to your unborn baby if you’re pregnant. This infection has four stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) with varying degrees of symptoms, and if left untreated for years, can spread to your brain and nervous system.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. There are medications to help you live a healthier, longer life, but you will always have HIV, and if left untreated, can lead into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
*People who tested positive for HIV often had other STDs accompanying it!
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common STI in the United States. There is no treatment for the virus itself, but you can get vaccinated by asking your healthcare provider. Your risk for cervical cancer is higher if you have HPV, so get screened regularly!
PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) is often the next stage of untreated STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. It can be cured if caught early, but any damage done to your reproductive system before treatment can’t be undone! Get screened early.
The Tuscarawas County Health Department has the tools to help you take preventive steps against STIs, screen for issues with proper testing, and get treatment for symptoms. (You may even qualify for free medication through a grant with ODH!)
TCHD Service Offerings
Call the Tuscarawas County Health Department at (330) 343-5555 x. 181 to schedule an appointment. No one is denied services based on inability to pay.
You Aren’t Dirty for Having an STI
If you’re experiencing symptoms and suspect an STI is present, DON’T WAIT TO GET TESTED. Your healthcare provider took an oath to help you live the healthiest, longest life you can! The symptoms you think are weird or taboo to talk about are just another Monday to them. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and still choose to care for their patients everyday.
There’s no excuse! Call the TCHD at (330) 343-5555 x. 181 to schedule a visit at the clinic and get the help you need before damage is done. Talk about it, get screened, and get treated–before it’s too late!
Quick Links for Reference:
Review these links for help to speak with your loved ones about practicing safe sex!
- STD Awareness Week
- Talking With Your Teens About Sex: Going Beyond “The Talk”
- The Right Way To Use A Male Condom
- Condom Effectiveness
- HIV Fact Sheet
- CDC Fact Sheets (All STDs)