DALTON, Ga. – Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur in the United States every year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections. CDC estimates that half of all new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the country occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24.
Sherry Gregory, Infectious Disease supervisor for North Georgia Health District 1-2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health, said, “April is STD Awareness Month, so we’re placing a special emphasis on how to prevent STDs and on the importance of getting tested and treated for these diseases.”
The high incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the general population suggests that many Americans are at risk of exposure to STDs, underscoring the need for prevention.
Despite this news, there are effective ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long-term health consequences of STDs.
“We will be conducting STD testing and awareness campaigns at our county health departments and at various community events throughout April, such as HIV and Hepatitis C testing at the Northwest Day Reporting Center in Dalton on April 3 and 17, and at Dalton State College Gilmer Campus in Ellijay on April 19,” said Gregory. “Details about these and other events will be posted to our website at www.nghd.org/pr.”
Contact information for county health departments in the North Georgia Heath District is:
Cherokee County Health Department: 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, 770-345-7371 and 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, 770-928-0133;
Fannin County Health Department: 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, 706-632-3023;
Gilmer County Health Department: 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, 706-635-4363;
Murray County Health Department: 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, 706-695-4585;
Pickens County Health Department: 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, 706-253-2821; and
Whitfield County Health Department: 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, 706-279-9600.
The Living Bridge Center, located at 1200 West Waugh Street in Dalton, is the provider of Ryan White Part B and C in the North Georgia Health District and will also participate in the district-wide STD Awareness Month campaign.
Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. Safe, effective vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active – particularly young people – STI screening and prompt treatment, if infected, are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others.
More information about STDs is available at all the above county health departments in north Georgia and on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/std.