Cobb & Douglas Public Health (CDPH), in partnership with Someone Cares, Inc. of Atlanta, will be offering free STD testing on April 30 in observance of National STD Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Georgia’s 2013 State Health Profile showed an increase in STD infection rates and the state now ranks 1st among the 50 states for infection rate of primary and secondary syphilis; Georgia is currently ranked 5th among the 50 states in the number of HIV diagnoses.
Free HIV, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing & Counseling
(no appointment necessary)
Thursday, April 30
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health
Marietta Public Health Center, Boardroom
1650 County Services Parkway
Marietta, GA 30008
Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States every year costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone, said a report by the CDC. Those affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more at risk for HIV infection, and according to the CDC in 2013 young men and women aged 15 – 24 accounted for half of all new STDs in the country while most of those newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were between the ages of 20 – 24.
“Risky sexual behaviors are contributing to a rise in STD and HIV/AIDS infection in Georgia, and in Cobb and Douglas counties,” said Rachel Franklin, director of epidemiology and health assessment at Cobb & Douglas Public Health. “Learning about safe sex practices and applying those practices – such as abstinence, reducing the number of sexual partners and consistently and correctly using condoms – are all effective prevention strategies, but those who choose to be sexually active should still get tested regularly for their own health and safety, as well as the safety of their partner. It can really help reduce the risk of STD infection and is the first step to recovery for those newly diagnosed.”
Most STDs don’t cause any symptoms and the only way to know for sure whether or not you have an STD is to get tested. Many methods of birth control are effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, but the only birth control method that protects against STD infections is condoms.
“One of the most difficult aspects of STD and HIV/AIDS infection is that many who carry the disease don’t get tested, and remain unaware of their status. Regular and routine testing helps sexually active people protect their health and the health of their partner. Even asking for an STD or HIV test when visiting your primary care provider can go a long way since they don’t typically test for those infections unless you ask” said Ronnie E. Bass, executive director of Someone Cares, Inc of Atlanta.
To learn more about STDs and the importance of getting tested, visit http://www.cdc.gov/std/sam/. For more information about the testing event, please visit www.cobbanddouglaspublichealth.com, or call 770-514-2432.