Yesterday, April 10th, was National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses are given to people aged 13-24 years old. Crazy, huh?
These new diagnoses have been linked to risky sexual behaviors among youth and lack of knowledge of safe sex practices. Condom use among this age group has decreased putting more teens at risk for acquiring and sharing HIV and AIDS.
This day serves as a reminder to practice safe sex, while also providing the perfect opportunity to get tested. Luckily for you, you won’t have to drive far. The Grafton-Taylor County Health Department offers STD testing for FREE. Testing is available for: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Results are available within 1-2 weeks and all services are 100% confidential. Remember, knowing your “STD Status” is the first step to preventing the spread of STDs. CDC recommends people who participate in risky sexual behaviors to get a STD screening yearly.
The second step to preventing the spread of STDs like HIV and AIDS is protection. Condoms are highly effective in the prevention of disease and infection. If you are participating in risky sexual behavior, adding a condom to the mix protects you and your partner. Condoms are available at the health department for no cost, and they are packaged discretely.
Lastly, education plays a critical role in reducing the spread of diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Teens should know about safe sex practices that promote their health and wellbeing. As always, the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department is dedicated to providing education to protect our community and its citizens. If you or someone you know would like to learn about ways you can protect yourself from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, contact one of our Public Health Nurses at 304-265-1288 or visit our newly updated website at www.GTCHDWV.org.