Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Awareness Month is observed
annually every April to raise public awareness about the impact of Sexually
Transmitted Diseases (STDs) on the lives of Americans and
the need to prevent, test for, and treat the conditions
- The Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness
Month is observed every year in April in the United States
- Currently STDs are at a record high
- Theme: 'Treat Me Right'
. It is an effort to normalize
routine STD testing and encourage
conversations on sexual
health and not to be embarrassed about it.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and partners are reaching out
to healthcare providers and patients this STD Awareness Month with the very
important message:Treat Me Right.
are currently at a
record high - the reason why it is most important for a provider to protect a
patients' sexual health or for a patient to stand up for their own sexual
health. To achieve this, a strong patient-provider relationship is utmost
, and hence, the stronger these relationships get, the weaker STDs
‘Remember being tested positive for an STD is not the end. Many sexually transmitted diseases are curable and all are treatable. Spread the word this month about STD Awareness with the theme 'Treat Me Right'.
this year's theme as Treat Me Right, CDC has some tips and suggestions to
strengthen this patient-provider relationship.
should foster a trusting patient-provider relationship, so that patients are
correctly diagnosed and treated.
should know what they can do, to stay safe and healthy and how to directly ask
their provider for the care that they need and deserve.
CDC website has a list of STD prevention resources that readers can find for
partners, providers, patients, and more.
recommendations for Patients: You Matter. Your Health Matters.
is encouraging patients to take control of their health by asking them what
at an all-time high. If left untreated, STDs can cause serious problems like:
have to understand that the only way to find out the presence of STDs is to get
tested and treated.
- Increasing the risk of transmitting or
- Causing long-term pelvic and/or abdominal pain
- Inability to get pregnant or pregnancy
for a healthcare provider who is willing to talk to you about your condition.
The doctor should treat you with respect, listen to your opinions and concerns
and encourage you to ask questions. They should be able to explain things in
ways you understand, recommend preventive services, like screening tests and
shots and be able to treat many health problems including STDs. If you need
more help with a specific health issue, they should refer you to a specialist.
to your healthcare provider openly about your sexual health, as it is an
important aspect of your health. If the providers do not discuss sex or STD
, be open about it and bring it up. By "taking a sexual
history" they can understand what STD tests you may need. Be honest about your
answers; you can ask them questions as well, like how to protect
yourself from getting an STD, what tests you will need to take, or how
often to get tested. Check with your doctor whether hepatitis B and HPV
are available, and if it is something you should consider.
includes getting all of the STD tests that you need. While anyone who has sex
can get an STD, CDC recommends STD testing for people who are at higher
risk for STDs.
you test positive for an STD always remember that many STDs are curable, and
all are treatable. Even if only one of you (you or your partner) has an STD
that can be cured, both of you will need to start treatment immediately to
avoid getting re-infected and also to avoid health problems down the road.
sure to get the prescription filled and take your medication as prescribed. The
prescriptions should not be shared with your partner.
the STDs cannot be cured, taking the right medicine can help. Medicine or a
prescription can be given to your partner too, even without the provider seeing
them first. Ask about this option known as expedited partner therapy (EPT). EPT
is a clinical practice of treating the sex partners of patients diagnosed with
chlamydia or gonorrhea by passing on prescriptions or medications to the
partner through their patient in times when they are unable to seek timely
retested in 3 months even if you and your partner took medicines, as some STDs
can occur more than once, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. So remember, this
April, Get Tested, Get Treated.
recommendations for Providers: What you do matters.
threatened by STDs right now as rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
continue to climb. CDC urges healthcare providers, being the protectors of
health across the U.S to help put an end to STDs. As mentioned earlier, this STD
Awareness Month, the focus is on the relationship between the provider and the
- With the theme Treat Me Right, CDC is
arming the providers with the tools they need to treat patients right -
from detecting an infection, selecting the correct treatment regimen,
engaging with them in a way that makes them feel heard and respected and
delivering care that is not biased by cultural differences.
- Providers should start by taking a thorough
Sexual History of the patient which is an important part of the patients' overall
medical history; it also allows the provider to make informed clinical
decisions, normalize and destigmatize discussions around sex. This can be
done discreetly by introducing the topic of sexual health into the patient
questionnaires before the visit.
- Providers should use the sexual history to
determine what STDs the patient should be tested for and the anatomical
sites to test.
- Let the patient know how they will get their test
results after taking the test. The providers should follow CDC's STD Treatment
Guidelines to treat their patients when they are diagnosed with an STD.
(An important point to note is that the only recommended treatment for
syphilis is injectable long-acting Benzathine penicillin G).
- Use the Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) to verify
that the patient's partners are tested and treated if they are unwilling
or unable to access care.
- Reinfection is common for some STDs. Encourage
the patients to return for follow-up testing in 3 months.
- Encourage risk reduction by providing prevention
counseling to all sexually active adolescents and adults at increased risk
CDC lists the
following tips for providers to help
ensure productive conversations with
- Foster trust with your patient by creating a welcoming and inclusive
clinic (one that
is teen-friendly, as
well) or office environment.
- Make use of private spaces to ask sensitive questions to ensure your
patients feel comfortable and confident of being protected by everyone in
- Offer your services to all patients, as sexual health is a normal part of a
person's overall health and well-being - normalize your sexual health
questions and STD/HIV testing recommendations.
- Try not to make assumptions about the patient.
- Standardize sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) questions.
- Try rephrasing the question or briefly explain why you are asking, if the patient is hesitant.
What you can do
- Program planners and prevention partners can use CDC's resources
on STD prevention outreach efforts to reach out to a maximum number of
people. There are graphics you can add to your website, social media posts and STD prevention infographics.
- Healthcare providers can use the CDC's 2015 clinical guidance on
STD prevention, diagnosis, and treatment online, as well as, a wall chart, pocket
guide, free mobile app for Apple and Android devices, an online learning experience on
how to manage STDs, teen friendly office tips and many more.
Finally, if you are a program planner use the provider
resources on the CDC website for your educational and outreach efforts.
Individuals can participate by posting on social media
throughout the month.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
passed from one person to another through intimate physical contact, heavy
petting, and from sexual activity. There are about 20 million new STDs every
year in the United States.
STDs such as
syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are spread mainly by sexual contact while
others like Zika and Ebola can be spread sexually, but are more often spread
through ways other than sex.
ways to prevent getting STDs by not having sex, by having protected sex (using
condoms) and by being in a sexual relationship with a partner who does not have
an STD. It is tricky to know if you have an STD since they do not always cause
symptoms. It is possible to have an infection and not know it. So, it is most
important to get tested if you are having sex.
Do your bit to
spread the word this month about STD and the need to get tested.
- STD Awareness Month - (https://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/index.htm)