National Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eileen Otero
  • 49th Aeromedical Dental Squadron public health journeyman
Public health's overall mission is to prevent disease, disability, and premature death. The month of April is National Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month. This annual observance focuses on the impact of STDs and the need to promote STD testing.
All patients who are diagnosed with an STD at Holloman AFB receive individual counseling and education from public health. Our goal is to ensure that each member is educated regarding disease transmission, prevention and health consequences.

During the month of April, Holloman AFB public health is focusing on the essentials of STD education and prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 19 million infections occur each year with an estimated $17 billion dollars in cost to the U.S. health care system. Early detection and STD screening, along with education, is key to preventing serious health consequences and decreasing transmission in the community.

A positive STD result can not only take a toll on your personal life but can also affect your work life. Although most infections can be treated and many are curable, infection with an STD should not be taken lightly. Many STDs often have no signs or symptoms and may have short and long-term consequences, including infertility. Getting tested is the only way to ensure you are 100 percent free of infection.

Chlamydia, known as the "silent disease," is the most commonly-reported STD in the United States. Eighty percent of infected females and 65 percent of infected males can carry the disease and not have any signs or symptoms. Abdominal pain, abnormal discharge and burning or painful urination are all common symptoms associated with chlamydia. Gonorrhea, another common STD, often coexists with chlamydial infection. If gonorrhea is left untreated, it can be life-threatening, spreading to the blood and joints. Chlamydia and gonorrhea, along with other common STDs, can also increase the risk of HIV transmission.

Taking preventive measures can minimize your chances of becoming a statistic. Abstinence is the best way to avoid having an STD; however, abstinence is not always practiced. Being in a monogamous relationship and using condoms can also decrease your risk of infection.

There are many types of STDs, both untreatable and treatable, all which can be prevented by taking necessary precautions and use available resources. Preventive measures are available if needed at public health. If you have any questions, please call public health at 572-3306.