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posted: 4/10/2014 4:52 PM

April is STD Awareness Month

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Jordan Green

DUPAGE COUNTY--April is National Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month and the DuPage County Health Department is encouraging individuals to protect your health--take steps to lower your risk of getting an STD, and also lower your risk of getting HIV.

Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. And the same behaviors that put you at risk for acquiring these STDs can put you at risk for getting HIV.

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The link between STDs and HIV is real. By educating yourself on ways to lower your risk, you can take action to protect your health. STD and HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of disease.

The Health Department's STD Clinic offers confidential, routine screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. A focused physical exam for other STDs and treatment, if needed, is also available. Screenings are by appointment only. The fee is $50, and parental consent is not required for persons 12 years of age and older (per Illinois state law).

In DuPage County, two out of three cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea occur in people under 25 years of age. DuPage County cases of chlamydia have risen 155 percent since 2000.

Due to the fact that most STDs do not produce signs or symptoms, it is important to talk to your physician about getting tested for STDs if you're sexually active.

Residents should also know the "ABCs" when it comes to protecting themselves from STDs:

Abstinence. The only 100 percent way to protect against a STD and unwanted pregnancy is to not have sex.

Be faithful. Being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with your partner can reduce the risk of STD transmission.

Condoms. Used correctly and consistently, they are highly effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call the Health Department at (630) 682-7400.

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