Preventing STDs is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

In Marion County in 2018 there were 326 reported of Chlamydia, 74 cases of Gonorrhea, and 5 cases of Syphilis. Chlamydia is the most reported condition in Marion County for the last 5 years.

1.

Know Your Risk

2.

Get Tested

3.

STD Prevention

Read on for how YOU can help kick Chlamydia out of Marion County!

While anyone who is sexually active can be affected by chlaymdia, adolescents and young adults are most likely to contract one. 80% of all reported cases in Marion County occurred in young adults between the age of 16 and 25 years old, with the average age affected being 21 years old.

  • Having multiple sexual partners increases your risk significantly.
  • Exposure to STDs also increases your risk for HIV and Hepatitis C.
  • Marion Public Health observed a 25% reinfection rate during December 2018 through January 2019 on cases that had a previous diagnosis of Chlamydia.

 

A range of unique factors place youth at risk for infection. Many young women don’t receive the chlamydia screening CDC recommends. Many youth are reluctant to disclose risk behaviors to doctors. Young women’s bodies are biologically more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections. Youth often lack insurance or transportation needed to access prevention services. And many young people have multiple partners which increases STI risk.

How do you know if you might have Chlamydia?

Women with symptoms may notice:

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Painful sexual intercourse;
  • Bleeding between periods and after sex

Symptoms in men can include

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).

Despite these symptoms, Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, meaning you may have it and not even know it! 

You know your risk, now let’s talk testing. Testing for Chlamydia is the best way to detect it, as it can go unnoticed, and prevent all the complications associated with it.

How do you test for it?

Chlamydia can be tested by taking a swab specimen of the vagina/endocervix for women, or a urethral swab for men. It can also be detected on a first-catch urine sample.

How is it treated?

If your testing comes back positive for chlamydia, you’ll be prescribed an antibiotic to cure your infection. You may be able to get treatment for your partner, too, through Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)! If you are being treated for an STD, your doctor may be able to give you medicine or a prescription for your partner – even without seeing them.

After being tested and treated, you should be tested again about three months later to confirm the infection is cleared.

Why should you get tested if you’re not symptomatic? We’re so glad you asked!

The consequences of STIs are particularly severe for young women. In fact, undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.

Per the CDC, men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia, though infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles causing pain and fever.

Unfortunately, women are more at risk for an untreated chlamydia infection.

“If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes (tubes that carry fertilized eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease(PID). PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesn’t cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).”

Read more at the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm

Where can I get tested?

Ready to get tested?  Marion Public Health officers a Sexual Health Clinic on Tuesdays by appointment. The clinic provides free or low-cost (based on patient need) STD and HIV testing and treatment as well as birth control and emergency contraception, cervical and testicular cancer screenings, pap smears, pregnancy testing, condoms, and more. For more information on the Sexual Health Clinic, click here.

Or, you can Check with your primary care provider, ask your gynecologist, or if you can’t get in with either of those, you can visit the ER.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an STD, you may be able to get treatment for your partner, too. For an accessible version go to: https://www.cdc.gov/std/products/infographics/images/ept-infographic-508_2016.10.06.pdf

Follow the ABC’s of STD Prevention

  • A: Abstinence. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex.
  • B: Be Faithful. If you cannot abstain from sex, practice mutual monogamy.
  • C: Condoms. If you cannot achieve the first two, use a condom!

Speak up!

We know it can be awkward, but try to make it a habit to talk about STDs and getting tested with your partner(s). Getting tested isn’t about cheating or not trusting your partner – it’s about saying you care about your health and the health of your partner.

Disclosing your STDs to your partner

It may be emotionally uncomfortable, but telling your partners about STDs allows them to protect their health, too. Being diagnosed with an STD can cause many strong emotions. You may begin to question your trust in your partner or be worried that they will question their trust in you. Before you blame anyone, know that STDs are common and don’t always cause symptoms. It is possible that you or your partner got the STD in a previous relationship without even knowing it. Keeping that in mind, talk to your partner as soon as possible. Be honest and straightforward.

During and after your talk, your partner may also have many strong emotions. The most helpful thing you can do is listen to your partner’s concerns and fears and offer information about the STD and its symptoms and treatment. Give your partner time to absorb this information. Help your partner understand that they may also have the STD. Sometimes, no one knows for sure who had the infection first.