Protect Your Future: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Awareness Tips

April marks STI Awareness Month, a time to learn about the rising cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across the United States, and how to protect your sexual health. Three common STIs—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are becoming more common, especially among young people aged 15-24. 

In Mercer County, the numbers are concerning. In 2022 alone, there were 1,089 reported cases of chlamydia, 237 reported cases of gonorrhea, and 12 reported cases of syphilis among the 15-24 age group. 

Many STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, may not show any symptoms, leading to undiagnosed infections. This can cause serious problems, like pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women, if left untreated. 

Getting tested early is crucial to prevent these problems. But many teens avoid talking about sexual health during their doctor visits. This STI Awareness Month, we want to change that. At HJAHC, teens are empowered to talk to their doctor about STI testing—it’s an important part of a health check-up for those who are sexually active. 

Remember, most STIs can spread through unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex. While birth control methods like the pill or patch can prevent pregnancy, they don’t protect against STIs. Condoms are a safe option to help prevent both pregnancy and STIs, and we offer a variety of FREE condoms at HJAHC! 

At Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC), we’re committed to providing comprehensive services for sexual health and well-being. Our STI and HIV Services are here to help teens and young adults: 

  1. Safe and Welcoming Environment: Our center offers confidential testing, counseling, and treatment for STIs in a safe space. 
  2. Convenient Hours: We’re open late on Tuesdays and Thursdays (5-7 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) to fit busy schedules. 
  3. Prevention Education: Our team teaches the importance of communication, regular testing, and early treatment to stop STIs from spreading. 
  4. Confidential Care: Your privacy matters to us. We make sure every visit is comfortable and secure for teens aged 13 and up. 
  5. Free Services: Quality sexual health care shouldn’t cost a thing. Our STI services are free for everyone. 
  6. Insurance Coverage: We accept most insurance plans for STI and PrEP services. 

If you have a teenager in your life, encourage them to protect their health and future by talking openly about STIs and testing options, we can empower our teens to make healthy choices.  

HJAHC is here for you and your family, every step of the way. Call 609-278-5900 to schedule an appointment for STI services today. 

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