April is the Center for Disease Control’s campaign for National STD Awareness Month in an effort to combat the increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases across the nation. 1 in 2 sexually active people will contract an STD by the age of 25 in the United States, the country with the highest rates of STD’s in the developed world. In order to increase national recognition of the growing concern for STD’s across the nation, each April, the CDC promotes a campaign to encourage all sexually active people to get themselves tested and know the status of their own sexual health.
STD’s are also a serious problem for the youth of America. Statistics show that, in this year alone, an estimated twenty million people will contract an STD and half of them will fall between the ages of 15 and 25. During the month of April, state health departments offer free STD screenings including HIV/AIDS testing.
There are several things people don’t know but should know when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases. Firstly, the current STD epidemic is driven by two main STD’s: HPV and Chlamydia. Many Americans have still failed to receive HPV shots to prevent contracting certain, major, strains of the disease. According to a 2011 statistic, only 35% of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 received their HPV shot. This is due in part to false information that the shot is unsafe or will lead to sexual promiscuity.
Treating STD’s costs the United States an estimated $17 billion each year, according to the CDC. This amount is often due to the 15 to 25 year old age bracket and the lack of sexual health resources provided by the state. A larger percent of this cost is placed on the shoulders of women as they are more likely to contract STD’s due to the female anatomy. They are less likely to observe symptoms because, unlike men, the majority of their sexual organ resides inside their body. Sexually transmitted diseases also have higher consequences for women, sometimes leading to infertility or, if already pregnant, passing the disease onto their child.
The good news, however, is that Obamacare now makes getting tested easier and women are able to receive HIV/AIDS counseling, STD counseling, and HPV testing without a co-pay. HIV testing will now also being covered under Obamacare, hopefully preventing the spread of the disease further among Americans. So if you have never been tested for STD’s or haven’t been recently, be sure to take advantage of STD Awareness month and get yourself tested.
For more information directly from CDC, check out their STD Awareness Month webpage!