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And while we’re on the subject, April is GYT (Get Yourself Tested) Month! At Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and at the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, we will be offering free STI testing.
At PPSLR, patients ages 25 and younger will be able to receive free gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV testing, with only a $15 visit co-pay. Patients older than 25 can get free gonorrhea and chlamydia testing, again with a small co-pay.
PPKM is offering free testing for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis and HIV at eight of their nine health centers, although an office visit charge will apply.
April is STD/STI awareness month and I have a plan to celebrate it. Sometime next week I’m going to call my local Planned Parenthood and get all of their information on testing and schedual to get tested hopefully on the first of April. I’ll tell you how it goes and I’ll take a picture of the GYT sticker I’m going to get. I’ll get together all the information I can to make sure all of you can get tested as cheaply as possible, and give you that information. Then I want all of you to go out, get tested, take a picture of you with a GYT sticker or some other thing that proves you got tested then either post it on your blog and link me or submit it here. Encourage everyone you can to get tested. You can visit the GYT website and get a kit to help you advertise and put together an event to get as many people in your area to get tested.
STD/STI testing is very important. Not all diseases will show symptoms. You or your partner could be having risky sex, passing something on, and not even know it. It’s important to get tested in between every new partner, and just every now and then. I’m choosing April as the time to get tested.
It’s kind of funny that April is STD/STI awareness month, because that’s the month last year I was diagnosed with herpes. I’m going to make it an annual thing to get tested on this month because it’s not only incredibly important to get tested, it’s important to have safe sex.
Join with me to promote safe sex and STD/STI testing!
A sexually transmitted disease, or STD, is an illness spread by several means of human sexual behavior. It is 100% preventable, but in our modern society many young adults choose to take the risk of contracting a venereal disease by having unprotected sex, or behaving promiscuously with an exaggerated range of partners.
The ugly truth of the matter is that 46.8% of American high school students have once had one or more forms of infection; this is primarily due to intoxication, drug use, and poor choices. Once these factors are involved and sex is added to the mix, the result can only be disastrous. Using a condom is effective, since they prevent diseases by 98%, but the best method of staying healthy is by practicing abstinence, the restraint of indulging in bodily activities that are experienced as giving pleasure.
Remaining a virgin until marriage is now a defunct ideal in the world of today, although some still practice this, 91% of people have had premarital sex. If everyone is having sex with everyone, then it is apparent that somewhere along the chain there is a link with an infection, and if transmitted to one partner, it could lead to the infection of many more unsuspecting people. It only takes one person to begin the spread of disease, which is why sexual intercourse is important, not for religious reasons, but for health factors.
Sexually transmitted diseases are contracted by just that, sex, which means any type of corporal penetration whether it is vaginal, oral, or anal, but they can also be spread through the sharing of unsterilized unsanitary needles. It occurs when blood, semen, and sometimes saliva, come in contact with each other or an open wound. The person infected passes it on to their partner if a condom is not used. If the illness is not cured, that person will then give it to their future sexual partners, and from there the diagram is endless.
There are many forms of venereal diseases and infections in existence today, but the most common
STDs are syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, genital herpes, and HIV/AIDS.
Syphilis is caused by a spirochete bacterium that is usually spread through the male sperm, but in occasions can sometimes be passed from mother to fetus in congenital herpes. This disease forms ulcerations and rashes in the human flesh which begin painlessly but increasingly become more pronounced and inflamed. It is believed that syphilis has infected 12 million people worldwide in the year of 1999, and now in 2012 that number is higher.
Gonorrhea, also known as “the clap”, is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and it has different symptoms on males and females. Men will experience burning urination and penile discharge, while women produce vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. If left untreated, the disease could transform into epididymitits, pelvic inflammatory disease or spread throughout the body, affecting joints and the heart.
Chlamydia infection is a major cause of human genital and eye disease, and it is the most common sexually transmitted disease in existence. It has generally no symptoms, so its prevention can sometimes come too late, or never, and if left untreated chlamydial infections can cause serious reproductive and other health problems with both short-term and long-term consequences.
Genital herpes is a viral disease that is categorized according to the site of infection. Oral herpes is the most common and it is visible since it forms cold sores and fever blisters. Genital herpes on the other hand tends to be asymptomatic, so internally the body deals with the disease even if externally the person looks healthy, but the infection resides in the body for life. There is no cure for herpes.
HIV/AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome is perhaps the single most deadly and incurable form of infection, because it does not attack the surface, but the helper T cells in the bloodstream. The virus attaches itself to the cells and replaces the vital information with its own deadly DNA, which causes the prevention of white blood cell production, the body’s defense mechanism. This allows the carrier to be susceptible to any and all other forms of disease. By not having a properly functional immune system, the victim has greater increased chances of death, even with just a common cold.
Sex is an important issue that should be discussed primarily at home, but the service of education should be provided in schools as well as religious units, because the topic is serious and the consequences can be deadly if not dealt with properly. Today many young adults make wrong decisions, but to live with a sexually transmitted disease should not be one of them.
If you plan to have sex, wear protection and get yourself tested, it is essential that you know about your partner’s health status and yours. Get tested annually, and if by chance you happen to be infected always contact your previous sexual partners in order to prevent an outbreak. Testing is free and discreet, but abstinence is still the only 100% method of sexually transmitted disease prevention.
For more information you can contact any of McAllen’s Free Clinics:
916 East Hackberry St., McAllen, TX
1200 S Col Rowe Blvd # A5, McAllen, TX
3001 North 23rd Street, McAllen, TX
It’s Your (sex) Life. GYT.