Southern 7 Health Dept. shares STD prevention tips during STD Awareness Week

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – Sunday marks the start of STD Awareness Week and the Southern Seven Health Department is using this time to encourage open conversations with medical professionals to prevent health issues for life.

Community Outreach Coordinator Shawnna Rhine has some advice.

“It’s important to know that generally all STDs are preventable either by following recommendations to prevent the spread or by getting vaccinated against a few of them. But again, prevention is key when it’s about making sure you don’t get an STD,” Shawnna Rhine said.

“Well, a lot of STDs don’t even have any symptoms. It is therefore best that if you notice something wrong with your body and how you feel, you should always contact your doctor about it. And talk with them about your sexual history and ask if that’s something you need to get checked out. If so, and if you are found to have an STD, they can treat it with antibiotics and antivirals,” Rhine said.

“The other thing to remember is that HBV and HPV are also preventable with vaccines. We test for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. We also vaccinate against HPV and HBV, and we can also test for HIV. So there are several tests that we offer here at the health department, you can come to one of your seven southern clinics that are in your county, or you can also attend one of our Wow events that take place in the next two months and get you tested,” she said.

“STDs are very common in the United States. There are about 20 different varieties of STDs and in Illinois we generally tend to consider gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia to be the most prevalent. But again, it’s also important to remember that prevention is what we focus on. We also want people to understand that you know, having an STD is very common. And so, you know, we encourage people not to discriminate, to be aware that this is a disease that can be treated and prevented,” she said.

“Typically, we see about 30% of cases in the 15-24 age bracket. That’s why it’s important to talk with your children about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and what they can do to protect themselves,” she said.

Rhine encourages you to talk to your doctor about the types of vaccines available and what you can do to prevent the spread of STDs.

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