North Georgia Health District Highlights Health Impacts of Sexually Transmitted Diseases during 2012 STD Awareness Month
- Written by Jennifer King, Public Information Officer
- Category: Media Releases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) 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 who have limited access to healthcare. STDs cost the United States’ health care system as much as $17.0 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 women and men.
In 2010, over 62,000 STDs were diagnosed in Georgia, and almost 900 of these cases were in the North Georgia Health District, comprised of Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties.
There are many effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs, and public health staff within the North Georgia Health District are working to educate the public that STD screening and early diagnoses are vital to prevent serious health consequences and increased transmission.
Screening is particularly important since many STDs often have no signs or symptoms. 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 who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots, be fully vaccinated against HPV. For sexually active MSM, CDC recommends annual HIV and syphilis blood testing, annual chlamydia testing, as well as annual gonorrhea testing, with more frequent testing for MSM who engage in high-risk behavior.
More information about STDs is available at each North Georgia Health District county health department (contact information listed here) or at www.cdc.gov/std.
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