April is STD Awareness Month, an annual observance to raise public awareness about the impact of STDs on the lives of Americans and the importance of preventing, testing for, and treating STDs.
There’s no better time to remind you that not only does having unprotected sex put you at risk of catching something funky, but it puts everyone else at risk, too.
Do you know…?
- STDs impact young people the hardest. Half of all STDs are in people under 25 years old, although they represent only a quarter of people having sex.
- The only sure way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of getting an STD by using a condom.
- You can’t tell if someone has an STD just by looking at them. Many STDs don’t cause any symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
- STD tests aren’t always part of a regular doctor visit. Many doctors may not give you an HIV or STD test unless you ask for one.
- Even if you use birth control, you should still think about STD prevention. Birth control methods like the pill, patch, ring, and IUD are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but they do not protect against STDs and HIV.
You should also know that all STDs, even HIV, are treatable, and most are curable. The sooner you know your status, the better you can protect your health and the health of your partner(s). If not treated, some STDs can lead to serious health problems. Untreated STDs, like chlamydia, although easy to cure, make it difficult for about 24,000 women each year to get pregnant, and having herpes or gonorrhea can increase your chances of getting HIV.