As a public health concern, initiatives and programs to address Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs include education, prevention, and intervention. While people are aware that STDs exist, public and private initiatives geared toward raising awareness on this health concern continue to be implemented as a part of a proactive community health strategy. This is to ensure that the general population are informed about STDs, including health risks, symptoms and types, as well as services and programs available to the public.
Different Types of STDs
STDs, also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), cover a range of diseases and conditions that can be transferred through sexual activity and even other non-sexual venues for transmission, such as blood transfusion. These diseases and infections often affect both men and women and can be also transmitted from a mother to a child during pregnancy. Some of the more common STDs include chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV/AIDS, among others.
There are healthcare providers that offer free STD testing and a host of other services to the community. Depending on the type of sexually-transmitted disease, the symptoms may not appear immediately upon infection. As an area of concern, early detection is encouraged. Screening is also advised among high-risk populations and those with certain health vulnerabilities. Screening methods include urine tests, as well as pelvic or urethral exams. The testing is done for a single infection or for several potential conditions. Some of the STDs or STIs can be easily treated while some even require a treatment plan to manage the symptoms.
A Growing Community Concern
A Center for Disease Control and Prevention report said that around 20 million new STDs are being detected in the U.S. annually. Young people between the ages of 15-24 are the most vulnerable to these diseases. Among the STDs, the center identified chlamydia trachomatis infection as the “most notifiable condition” in 2016, with approximately 1.6 million cases detected in the U.S. CDC noted that since 1994, more people have been diagnosed with the infection in comparison to other STDs. Gonorrhea has been identified as the second most commonly reported STD in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization estimates a high global incidence rate of STDs. The health organization fact sheet noted that around 1 million people are infected with an STI or STD every day around the world. WHO said that counseling and behavioral interventions are just two main prevention strategies against these types of diseases.
The rising STD prevalence rate has been prioritized as an area of public health concern. That is why concerted efforts have been done across private and public-sector groups.
To arrest the growing threat of STDs and STIs, members of the population are encouraged to be informed, get tested, and if needed, seek medical help. There are medical and healthcare providers in the community that offer these types of services. Knowing whether one has an STD or STI certainly helps in addressing and treating the condition before it becomes worse.