The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall is the public information director of the Henry/Stark Health Departments.
Blog: What you need to know about STDs
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Rae-Ann Tucker-Marshall
Henry-Stark Health Department
Aug. 26, 2013 10 a.m.

"With an estimated 20 million new sexually
transmitted infections occurring every year in the US, it is clear that STDs
remain a widespread health threat in this country," noted Sandy Sommer, RN Director
of Clinical Services for the Henry County Health Department.
Sommer adds, "In addition, STD infections cost the American healthcare
system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. And it's America's
youth that is shouldering the substantial burden of these infections. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of all
new STDs in the country occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24."
Sommer notes,"With all these disturbing statistics it is obvious that
STD Awareness Month is an opportune time to remind area residents that the
Health Department offers confidential:
~ STD Testing for Males and Females
~ Treatment of STDs
~ Contraceptive Supplies
~ Preventative immunizations against such STDs as Hepatitis B and HPV
~ Counseling, Education, and Referral
~ Expedited Partner Treatment
Testing and knowledge of infection are vital to reducing the incidence
and spread of STDs. Because many infections have no symptoms, those at risk
need to get tested and find out if they are infected.
There are many actions you can take to protect yourself and others from
* Abstinence - The most reliable way to avoid infection with an STD are
to abstain from sex or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship
with an uninfected partner.
* Correct and consistent use of condoms - Consistent use of latex
condoms reduces the risk of HIV and other STDs. (Supplies are available
through the Health Departments Kewanee and Colona offices.)
* Screening - Getting tested and treated for STDs can protect you from
serious health consequences caused by STDs. (STD Testing available at the
Health Department.)
* Immunizations - Receiving recommended Hepatitis B and HPV
immunizations can almost completely prevent infections covered by the
Adds Sommer, "Though the subject of STDs may not be a comfortable
healthcare issue to discuss, we want people to remember the Health
Department is a source of confidential testing, treatment, and education.
And we are literally just a phone call away. People should know we offer
the tools and services people need to stay healthy."
The clinic accepts medicaid payments and private pay. A sliding fee
scale, based on the client's income, has been established to assist
low-income families to obtain services. In addition, grant funds are
available for those who meet certain eligibility requirements.
For more information or to schedule an appointment call the Health
Department at (309) 852-5272 or visit our website at
www.henrystarkhealth.com. You may also find us on Facebook at Henry and
Stark County Health Departments.

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