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FDOH in St. Lucie County Encourages Testing During STD Awareness Month

By Arlease Hall

April 02, 2019

The Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in recognizing April as STD Awareness Month. Throughout the month, DOH-St. Lucie will host and participate in screenings and educational events to raise STD awareness.

This year’s campaign encourages individuals and healthcare providers to take three simple actions – Talk. Test. Treat.  To protect their health, the health of their partners, and that of their patients. The campaign reinforces that all STDs are preventable and treatable, and most are curable.

“To prevent the spread of STDs or STIs, it is important to Talk. Test. and Treat. Talk to you partner and healthcare provider about risk factors and methods to reduce your chances of getting an STD, get tested, and get treated if you’re infected, to avoid additional health problems or further the spread,” said Clint Sperber, Health Officer for the Department of Health in St. Lucie County.

Syphilis infection rates have spiked in all regions of the country and across almost every ethnicity and age group. Some populations, such as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, and women are seeing higher increases than other groups. Cases of congenital syphilis (babies born with syphilis) are also increasing at an alarming rate.  Having syphilis also makes it easier to get HIV and Hepatitis C.

To prevent the spread of all STDs, including syphilis, DOH-St. Lucie provides screening, counseling, treatment and partner notification services to persons infected with or suspected of being infected with STDs.

The only way to avoid syphilis and other STDs is to not have sex. However, if you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of infection: 

  • Be in a long-term, monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for syphilis and other STDs
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex
  • Talk to your health care provider about getting tested for syphilis and other STDs or locate a clinic  near you for free, fast and confidential testing 
  • If you test positive for syphilis or other STDs, get treated right away and be sure your sexual partner is treated as well to reduce the risk of re-infection

DOH-St. Lucie will partner and host several outreach events in April for STD Awareness Month.  Testing is free for STDs and HIV. No appointment is necessary but a photo ID is needed.
For more information on STD Awareness Month, visit the CDC’s webpage. To learn more about the department’s STD program and services, click here.