Be aware of Sexually Transmitted Infections, April is STI Awareness Month

The Collective Preventive Services’ (CPS) calendar of health observances, focuses on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) during the month of April, and wishes to remind the community about preventing STIs, and making a healthy choice. 

Based on the department’s 2011 surveillance report, the following STIs were reported from the laboratory and sentinel physicians: two cases of Genital Discharge Syndrome (GDS); 41 laboratory positive tests for chlamydial; six cases of gonorrhea; nine Herpes Simplex Virus-2; 54 laboratory positive tests for trichomonas; and 70 laboratory positive tests for syphillis.

These numbers do not depict the true burden of disease in our society but gives a signal that sexual transmitted awareness is needed to prevent STIs. Just as important is ensuring that accumulation the data is captured.

STI Surveillance is one of Section General Health Care’s task and, locally STIs falls within the category of laboratory-based surveillance. Reporting on the local STI situation is dependent on receiving the relevant data and information from the laboratory and healthcare professionals.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius De Weever as part of his "Get Checked’ campaign, is calling on the populace to get checked, adding that Sexually Transmitted Infections are real, they are here, and they do not discriminate. The Minister added that persons should also be well informed in order to make wise choices.

Always make informed decisions even during the Carnival Season.

The Calendar of Health Observances’ objectives is to bring about awareness as it relates to STIs; to encourage individuals to be more responsible for their own health and their partner’s health; and to provide the public with general information.

STIs are infections that are spread primarily through person-to-person sexual contact. STIs are infections that are likely to be transmitted while having unprotected sex. Transmitted means passed on from one place to another, in this case it means passed on from one person to another.

There are more than 30 different sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites.

In making a decision to be sexually active, the most important thing is to get the facts. Getting the basic information on STIs is a positive step in making an informed decision on whether to be sexually active or not.

Protect yourself and your sexual partner. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider to test you for STIs. Asking is the only way to know. Many STIs can be easily diagnosed and treated.

Effective strategies for reducing STI risk include: abstinence, vaccination, mutual monogamy, reduced number of sex partners, condoms and put yourself to the test.

The most common conditions STIs cause are: cancer, gonorrhea, chlamydial infection, syphilis, trichomoniasis, chancroid, genital herpes, genital warts, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and hepatitis B infection.

For (awareness) basic STI information you can also contact your local Family Physician, The AIDS Foundation, Red Cross Foundation, and/or the Section General Health Care at Tel. 542-3003.