The Fresno County Department of Public Health encourages anyone who’s sexually active to practice safe sex and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). By getting tested for STDs and practicing safe sex, you can protect yourself from STDs and improve the overall health of everyone in our community.
What Can You Do?
ABOUT SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STD in the U.S., and nearly two-thirds of new infections occur in 15-24 year-olds. Chlamydia is known as a silent infection since most people don’t have symptoms or physical signs of the disease. If and when symptoms do appear, it sometimes isn’t until several weeks after exposure – leaving potential partners at risk along the way, and complications to arise from waiting to get treated.
Syphilis has multiple stages of infection, and each one has different signs and symptoms.The third stage of syphilis, known as the latent stage, doesn’t show signs or symptoms. Syphilis can have serious, long-term complications if left untreated –that’s why it’s important to get tested and treated early.
Congenital syphilis happens when a pregnant woman with syphilis passes the infection on to her unborn baby. The longer she goes on without treatment, the more likely the infection will have serious effects on the baby.If you’re pregnant, you should be tested for syphilis the first time you seek health care during pregnancy.
Gonorrhea is another common STD, and many men and women don’t show symptoms. In some cases, patients mistake it for a bladder orothervaginal infection.And even if you’ve been treated for gonorrhea, syphilis or chlamydia before, you could still get infected again.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV is commonly spread through unprotected sex, so condoms or dental dams can protect you and your partners from getting the virus.
HIV testing is essential for improving the health of people living with HIV and helping to prevent new infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 13 percent of people infected with HIV in the United States are unaware of their infection. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care, and that gay and bisexual men and others at high risk be tested more frequently. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.
While PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) can help prevent HIV, it’s not right for everyone –and it doesn’t take the place of condoms, which can protect you from other STDs. It’s recommended to get tested if you’ve had unprotected sex or if your partner tests positive for the virus.
Talk to your doctor about PrEP or visit a nearby clinic to get more information.
For more information about PrEP, contact the PreP Navigator at Fresno County Department of Public Health at (559) 600-6404 or visit www.pleaseprepme.org.