The Center for Disease Control has named April as National STD Awareness Month. From the CDC website:

In 2008, there were more than 1.5 million total cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea reported to CDC-making them the two most commonly reported infectious diseases in the United States.

While serious health threats from STDs cross racial and ethnic lines, disparities persist at too high a level.

  • Blacks represent 12 percent of the U.S. population yet account for almost half of all reported chlamydia and syphilis cases and more than 70 percent of all reported gonorrhea cases.
  • New CDC data show that women are more likely to be infected with HSV-2 (also known as herpes) than men. The most affected group is black women.
  • Most STDs have been associated with increased risk of HIV transmission. Blacks accounted for almost half of new HIV infections.

Untreated STDs can lead to serious long-term health consequences, especially for adolescent girls and young women. CDC estimates that undiagnosed and untreated STDs cause at least 24,000 women in the United States each year to become infertile.

The CDC strongly recommends that all sexually active people get tested regularly for STDs, become knowledgeable about the risks and discuss these risks with their partners. This is important regardless of orientation, gender, race or age.

If you don’t know where to go in your area, visit the CDC’s National HIV and STD Testing Resources page and enter your zip code to find the nearest facilities: most off anonymous testing and many have a sliding scale fee structure.

Also, if you are HIV- and want to help find a cure, I urge you to consider volunteering for an HIV vaccine trial. There are locations around the US and the world, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia and New York. Some trials are looking only for men who have sex with men; others are open to women and straight men as well. All need a diversity of races and ages. The studies are strictly confidential and closely monitored to make sure they adhere to strict ethical standards. Participants receive remuneration for their time.

Get yourself talking, and get yourself tested.

Gregory Gadow

Gregory Gadow