Concord, NH – April is STD Awareness Month and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is raising awareness about sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevalence during the month, especially among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as one in two sexually active young people will contract an STD by the age of 25 and most of them won’t know it.
National STD Awareness Month along with the “GYT: Get Yourself Tested” campaign began in 2009 to inform young people about STDs, encourage and normalize routine testing for STDs, and connect young people to testing centers. The GYT campaign encourages Americans, especially those under the age of 25, to speak with their healthcare provider and partners about getting tested. According to CDC, this age group represents half of the estimated 19 million STDs occurring in the U.S. each year. When left untreated, STDs can lead to an increased risk of HIV infection, infertility, and cancer.
In New Hampshire, there were 3,068 of chlamydia in 2012, compared with 3,022 cases in 2011 and 2,484 in 2010. Consistent with the national data, there has been a steady increase in chlamydia cases in the past decade, essentially doubling in number. Syphilis cases have also been increasing with 67 in 2012 compared with 35 in 2011 and 43 in 2010. Gonorrhea cases have been consistently reported with 147 cases in 2012, compared with 136 cases in 2011 and 146 in 2010.
“STDs are a huge concern and the numbers of cases have been increasing in New Hampshire lately,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “There is a stigma attached to this health topic as well as lack of information and misinformation. This leads to people not being tested and not knowing the risks. Since many STDs may have no symptoms, most of those who are infected don’t know it. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.”
For more information about STDs, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std, the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov, or call the DHHS STD Program at 271-4502. For more information about the Get Yourself Tested campaign, go to www.cdcnpin.org/stdawareness/GYT.aspx.
The STD Awareness Month campaign is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on this week in recognition of National Public Health Week; for more information go to www.nphw.org.