CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging residents who are sexually active to talk with a health care professional about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and get tested.
In the United States 20 million new STDs, including 50,000 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections occur each year. Almost half of those cases are among young people age 15 to 24.
Cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are on the rise in Illinois. Between 2008 and 2012, reported cases of chlamydia increased 14 percent while syphilis increased by 82 percent and gonorrhea by 15 percent (between 2010 and 2012).
“Getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases and seeking prompt medical treatment if you find that you are infected can reduce your risk for further complications and passing the infection on to others,” IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. “Knowing the status of both you and your partner is essential to protecting your health and stopping the spread of these and other preventable diseases.”
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections that can easily be cured with antibiotics; however, most people do not have any symptoms and infections are often undiagnosed and untreated. Syphilis can cause long-term complications or death if not treated correctly. Symptoms in adults are divided into stages: primary, secondary, latent and late syphilis. Without treatment, STDs can cause serious health complications, including infertility among women.
Actions you can take to protect yourself against STDs:
• Abstinence or reduction of the number of sex partners
• Consistent and correct use of condoms
• Regular screening - getting tested and treated for STDs
For more information about STDs, call the HIV/STD Hotline at (800) 243-2437 (TTY – 800-782-0423) or log onto http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/std/index.htm. To find a testing site near you go to http://HIVtest.cdc.gov or text “IL” plus your zip code to 36363.
Providing essential health information is one way IDPH is continuing its mission of protecting health, improving lives and implementing IDPH’s Five Year Strategy. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf.