For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
Reno, Nevada, April 9, 2018 - Annually the United States observes April as Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month. This year’s theme, Treat Me Right, focuses attention on strengthening the trust between patients and providers which encourages an open dialogue about STD testing. Research shows early detection of STDs reduces the emotional strain and physical complications of STDs on an individual. Often people do not want to face the stigma and judgement sometimes experienced when asking for an STD test from their provider. Washoe County Health District’s Sexual Health Program encourages community members and providers to work together in reducing these barriers by testing often and testing early.
The incidence of STDs are increasing in Nevada and Washoe County. Reportable STDs, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, have been increasing since 2010. Chlamydia cases have increased 9.6% from 2016 to 2017. Gonorrhea has increased 19.8% during the same time period. Cases in the most infectious stages of Syphilis, Primary and Secondary, have increased 75%. Since 2013, Washoe County has experienced a dramatic surge of infectious Syphilis, a 116% increase.
To reduce the impact of STDs in Washoe County, the Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is promoting a multi-faceted approach. Individuals are encouraged to ask their providers for STD/HIV testing and participate in safer sex activities such as decreasing number of partners and increase condom usage. If a person is positive for a STD, they are urged to provide information on their sexual partners to their provider or WCHD to help stop the spread of infection. WCHD recommends providers conduct sexual risk assessments and offer STD testing as standard practice. In addition, providers are advised to follow current CDC testing and treatment guidelines. Asking patients their sexual history and practices is a crucial piece of medical history that is often missed. Providers are also reminded to report STDs in a timely manner per Nevada law, NRS 441a. “Responding to the alarming increase of STD cases requires that all members of our community do their part," said Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. “We advise providers to assess risk, offer testing, and appropriately treat and report STDs. Community members should ask their providers for STD and HIV testing and reduce their risk of harmful health outcomes through safer sex practices.”
WCHD’s Sexual Health Program offers numerous, confidential STD and HIV testing opportunities on an ongoing basis, many of which are free to the community. For further information, contact Jennifer Howell, Sexual Health Program Coordinator, at 775-328-6147.
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