STI Awareness Week
April 9 – 15, 2023 is STI Awareness Week
Could you be one in 5? The CDC estimates that about 20% of the U.S. population – approximately one in five people in the U.S. – had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) on any given day in 2018. In 2018, there were 26 million new STI infections in the U.S. Of those infections, almost half were among youth aged 15 to 24. STI Awareness Week, observed the second full week in April, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about STIs and how they impact our lives. These efforts include reducing STI-related stigma, fear and discrimination, and ensuring people have the tools and knowledge to prevent, test for, and treat STIs.
Talk. Test. Treat.
Talk. Talking about your sexual health is important. To ensure you are getting tested and treated for STIs when needed, you should be mindful about the sexual health of both you and your partner. Being open and honest is one tip for having a conversation with your partner about sexual health. You should talk with your partner before having sex and suggest getting tested for STIs together. If you have an STI, it is important to tell your partner so that they can get tested and treated, too.
Talking openly and honestly to your health care provider about your sex life will help determine which STI tests you should have and how often. Not all medical checkups include STI testing, so don’t assume that you’ve been tested unless you discuss it with your provider. If your provider does not discuss sex or STI testing with you, bring it up.
Test. Many sexually active individuals are recommended to have a yearly STI screening. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an STI. Many STIs don’t cause any symptoms, so you could have an STI and not know. Learn which STI tests are recommended for you. When getting tested for STIs, it is important to be evaluated for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV. Individuals should also have hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening. All adults and adolescents from ages 13 to 63 should be tested for HIV at least once. You may need to be tested annually or every 3 to 6 months for STIs. Talk with your doctor about how often you should be tested for STIs. Visit, Get Tested | National HIV, STD, and Hepatitis Testing (cdc.gov), to find free, fast and confidential testing near you. If you are unsure of where to go for STI services in North Dakota, you can contact the Division of Sexually Transmitted and Bloodborne Diseases at 701.328.2378 or email email@example.com.
Treat. If you test positive for an STI, work with your health care provider to get the correct treatment. Some STIs can be cured with the right medicine, and all STIs are treatable. Make sure your treatment works by doing these things:
- Taking all the medication your health care provider prescribes, even if you start feeling better or your symptoms go away.
- Not sharing your medicine with anyone.
- Avoiding having sex until you and your sex partner(s) have all completed treatment.
Your health care provider can talk with you about which medications are right for you.
Know the numbers
Over the past decade, the United States has experienced alarming increases in the rates of STIs. In 2019, reported STIs in the U.S. reached an all-time high for the sixth consecutive year with more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. The increase in STIs nationally is also being seen in North Dakota.
In North Dakota, there were 1,648 cases of gonorrhea reported in 2020, a 40% increase from 2016 and seven times greater than the number of cases reported in 2010.
Prioritizing STI prevention and care is necessary to stop this alarming rate of increase of STIs in North Dakota and the U.S.
Be proactive with your health
You can be proactive with your health. Take steps such as abstinence, reducing the number of sex partners you have, agreeing to mutual monogamy and using condoms every time you have anal, vaginal or oral sex to prevent STIs.
Remember these three Ts. Talk. Test. Treat.
- Learn more about the more than 20 STIs and talk openly with your health care provider and partner about your risks and status.
- Make an appointment annually to test and seek out testing more regularly if you are in higher risk situations.
- Know the options to treat your infection if you test positive.
Be proactive with your health! By knowing your STI status you can protect yourself and help stop the spread of STIs within communities.
To learn more, visit hhs.nd.gov/STI.