April is STD awareness month and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is dedicating the entire month to syphilis. STDs affect thousands of Oregonians. Several populations experience significant STD-related health disparities, including LGBTQ individuals, people of color, and youth.
During 2014-2015, the rate of syphilis increased 18.1% among men and 27.3% among women in the United States. The rate of syphilis continues to increase each year in Oregon, and Oregon is ranked 7th in the nation for primary and secondary syphilis cases.
The great news about syphilis is that there are actions you can take to avoid and lower the risk of getting syphilis, and it is curable. Visit SyphAware.org to learn more about how you can get syphilis, the signs and symptoms of syphilis, and information about testing and treatment.
Ways to avoid and lower the risk of getting syphilis
The only way to avoid getting syphilis or other STDs is to not have vaginal, oral or anal sex, but if you are sexually active, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of getting syphilis:
Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD results.
Reduce the number of sex partners.
Use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Get tested, because it is the only way to know if you have syphilis. Check the Screening Recommendations to see how often you should be screened for STDs.
Talk about it! Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about your sexual history. Talk with your partner about sex and STDs BEFORE you have sex.
Remember, syphilis can be treated with the right medications from your healthcare provider! If you test positive for syphilis, it will be important that your partner is treated for syphilis too. Even after you have been successfully treated for syphilis, you can get it again. So, it is important that you take actions that will lower your risk of getting infected again.
Where to get tested?
Jackson County Public Health offers confidential STD testing and treatment. This means that no one will be given information about your visit except for you. Please call 541-774-8209 to schedule an appointment for STD testing or if you have question about the cost of services.
You can also make an appointment with your healthcare provider, or a provider of your choice to receive testing and treatment.