Walworth County Public Health gives free condoms for prevention

April is sexually transmitted disease awareness month, and statistics show STDs are on the rise across the country, according to a press release from Walworth County Public Health.

Nearly 20 million new STD cases occur in the United States every year and cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Walworth County in 2017, 408 STDs were reported to Public Health, the majority of which were chlamydia.

America’s young people shoulder a substantial number of these infections, according to the release. CDC estimates that half of all new STDs in the country occur among young men and women between 15 and 24 years old. One in two sexually active young people will get an STD before the age of 25, and many of those individuals infected with an STD will not exhibit symptoms. Fortunately, there are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs, according to Public Health.

While abstaining from sex is the only way to completely avoid potential exposure to an STD, reducing the number of sexual partners is an effective strategy to prevent STDs. The only other approved STD prevention method available is the consistent and correct use of condoms before engaging in any form of sexual activity.

When it comes to STDs, screening and early diagnosis is essential in preventing transmission to others, the Public Health Department says. All sexually active adults should be screened for STDs at least annually or any time they switch partners, have multiple partners, are pregnant or exhibit symptoms.

STD testing is painless, confidential and, in many cases, free. Testing is available from primary care providers, local reproductive health clinics or college health centers. Early treatment of an STD can prevent long-term reproductive health consequences, such as infertility, according to the health department.

Walworth County Public Health encourages all sexually active people to take precautions and protect their health. Condoms are available from Public Health free of charge and with no questions asked. More information on STDs, testing and prevention may be found by visiting co.walworth.wi.us or contacting Public Health at (262) 741-3140 or walcoph@co.walworth.wi.us.


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