FORT KNOX, Kentucky (April 22, 2013) -- Each year, April is designated by medical communities as Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month.
Ireland Army Community Hospital leaders and staff urge you to consider the serious health issues that can be caused by contracting an STD. While some of these infections are deadly or lead to long-term severe disability, many will not cause severe harm. Most have the potential to lead to more serious health problems if they are not diagnosed or treated early and properly.
STD Awareness Month highlights the opportunity to address ways to prevent some of the nearly 20 million new STDs that occur in the United States each year.
According to a recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all new infections occur among young people aged 15-24. This analysis notes that the biggest contributing factors to the high rate of STDs among teens and young adults can be credited to stigma, and inconsistent or incorrect condom use, among other factors.
“It is important to note that most STDs are treatable, and many are curable,” said COL Cornelius Maher, Fort Knox MEDDAC and IRACH commander.
The most effective way to prevent infection by STD is abstinence, or being in a mutually monogamous, long-term relationship with another non-infected individual. In addition, vaccinations are available for certain diseases such as HPV or hepatitis B, for both males and females. Proper condom usage is another highly effective way of reducing STD transmission.
“Many STDs don’t exhibit symptoms, while some are so mild they will go unnoticed or undiagnosed,” Maher said. “That’s why it’s imperative that those in sexually active relationships get screened. The month of April is a great time to get yourself checked out and ensure you are not infected or get the proper treatment if you are.”
For more information on STDs, talk to your healthcare provider or visit the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov.
USA MEDDAC Fort Knox Public Affairs Office