Several Public STD Clinics Offer Free Testing on April 22
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
April 17, 2009 William Gerrish
“Taking care of your sexual health is very important as many STDs, if untreated, can lead to serious complications and illness,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “Since many STDs have no signs or symptoms, it is important that people who are sexually active are tested regularly to prevent serious illness and spread of the disease.”
There are several public STD clinics throughout the state, which offer STD testing at no charge. For a list of clinics, visit the DPH Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Program website at www.ct.gov/dph/std or call (860) 509-7920. Anyone who is 13 years of age or older can be treated or tested for STDs confidentially and without parental consent.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) pose a serious public health threat to Americans – particularly young women, African Americans, men who have sex with men (MSM), and individuals living in poverty or with limited access to healthcare. Approximately 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States – and almost half of these are among young people aged 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One in four adults in the United States has an STD.
STDs cost the United States’ health care system as much as $15.5 billion annually. STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women. These and other common STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission for both men and women.
According to health officials, there are many effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnosis are vital to prevent serious health consequences and continued transmission. Screening is particularly important since many STDs often have no signs or symptoms. The CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. CDC also recommends that girls and women between the ages of 11 and 26 be fully vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). This vaccine prevents infection with the main strains of HPV that cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
For sexually active MSM, CDC recommends annual HIV and syphilis blood testing and annual chlamydia and gonorrhea testing with more frequent testing for MSM who engage in high-risk behavior.
It is important that people who test positive for an STD notify their partner so that they can be tested and treated as well. If you have difficulty locating or telling your partner, there are confidential programs in place to assist with partner notification. For more information on STDs visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.