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For Release:  April 22, 2008
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-560
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Prevention, Testing and Treatment Are Key to Controlling STDs
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month

The Oklahoma State Department of Health joins the nation in raising awareness about an ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that pose a serious public health threat to Americans – particularly young women, African Americans, men who have sex with men, and individuals living in poverty or who have limited access to healthcare. 

About 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year in the United States and almost half of these are among young people ages 15 to 24.  STDs cost the health care system as much as $15.5 billion annually.  In addition, STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women. These and other common STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men.

“To illustrate the scope of the problem in Oklahoma, in 2006, 12,992 confirmed chlamydial infections were reported and approximately 58 percent of the confirmed infections were diagnosed among youth, with 80 percent of those cases occurring in females,” said Jan Fox, MPH, RN, chief of the HIV/STD Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Prevention, testing and treatment are the keys to controlling this curable disease.” 

County health departments have STD clinics that test for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis and trichimoniasis.  They also offer HIV testing. 

•       In Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department at 921 N.E. 23rd Street has a walk-in clinic open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Clinic numbers may be limited based on staffing.  Clients should check in prior to 3 p.m.) Call (405) 425-4430 for more information.

•       In Tulsa, the Tulsa Health Department operates a walk-in clinic at 4616 E. 15th Street on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  STD testing on Monday and Friday is by appointment only.  Call (918) 595-4104 for more information.

•       STD clinic services are also available at other county health departments. Contact your local county health department for clinic hours. A list of county health departments can be found at: http://www.ok.gov/triton/modules/health/map/county_map.php

“There are many effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. Screening and early diagnosis are vital to prevent serious health consequences and increased transmission.   Screening is particularly important since many STDs often have no signs or symptoms,” Fox said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. CDC also recommends that girls and women between the ages of 11 and 26 who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots, be fully vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV.

For sexually active men who have sex with other men, the CDC recommends annual HIV and syphilis blood testing, annual chlamydia testing, as well as annual gonorrhea testing, with more frequent testing for those who engage in high-risk behavior.

April is STD Awareness Month. For more information about STDs, check out these Web sites: http://www.cdcnpin.com/stdawareness/sam.htm or http://www.cdc.gov/std/

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