Take control of your sexual health

Take control of your sexual health
Source: American Sexual Health Association Facebook page

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - April is STD Awareness Month. Twenty million new sexually transmitted disease cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. If you are sexually active, you are at risk of infection.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants you to arm yourself with the facts about STDs and talk to your healthcare provider. Know the risks, symptoms and steps you can take to protect yourself. Many STDs are curable, and all are treatable.

Woman's Hospital wants to remind you the early detection of cancer could save your life. Your annual gynecological checkup should include a complete "well woman" exam. Regular pelvic exams including Pap tests are suggested among a list of preventative health screenings for women.

PAP TEST AND PELVIC EXAM 

  • To screen for abnormalities that could indicate pre- or early cervical cancer
  • Every 2 years from ages 21 to 30
  • Every 3 years for women age 30 and older who have had three consecutive normal Pap tests
  • Screening may be stopped at age 65 or 70 for women who have three or more normal Pap tests ina row or no abnormal test results in 10 years
  • Women who have had their cervix and uterus removed may also stop having cervical cancer screenings, unless the surgery was done as treatment for cervical cancer or pre-cancer

HPV TEST

  • Helps identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer
  • Every 2-3 years along with Pap test starting at age 30 (and in younger women with inconclusive Pap tests)

CHLAMYDIA TEST

  • Prevents spread of chlamydia
  • Yearly until age 25 if sexually active
  • Age 26 and older, get the test if you have new or multiple sexual partners
  • If left untreated, it can lead to irreversible effects like infertility

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE (STD) SCREENING

  • Prevents spread of HIV and other STDs, many of which can only be detected through testing
  • All sexually active women and their partners should be tested for HIV and other STDs before starting sexual activity

The CDC says, if you are having sex, you should ask your doctor about STD testing.

Woman's Hospital says vaccines are safe, effective and recommended ways to prevent STDs such as HepatitisB and HPV. Correct and consistent use of the male latex condom is highly effective in reducing STD transmission.

The most recent STD statistics available from Louisiana Department of Health is from 2016.

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