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STD Awareness Month

Georgia Ranks High in STD Rates But Testing and Treatment are Widely Available

In 2022, Georgia ranked fifth in the country for both gonorrhea and chlamydia cases. Georgia was ranked 17th for congenital syphilis cases, and 20th for primary and secondary syphilis cases.  But how many more people are infected, but don’t know? “One way we can begin to reduce the number of STD cases is for people to get tested,” said Antonio B. Lawrence, STD Program Manager and HIV Prevention Manager of the West Central Health District. “If you know you’re positive, you can be treated, and not pass the infection to anyone else.”

Untreated STDs can cause an increased risk of getting or giving HIV, long term blindness, and inability to get pregnant and have pregnancy complications. Most STDs are curable, and all are treatable. So, if you or your partner tests positive, both of you should start treatment immediately to avoid getting
Talk, Test and Treat.  Talk to your partner and healthcare providers. Get tested; it’s the only way to know for sure.  Finish your course of treatment.

April is STD Awareness Month. You can protect yourself in several ways:

Practice abstinence - the surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. This means vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.
Have fewer partners - agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD.
Talk with your partner(s) about STDs and staying safe before you have sex. Getting the conversation started might be uncomfortable, but protecting your health is your responsibility.
Get tested- many STDs don’t have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems.

The only way to know if you have an STD is to get tested.  The 16 counties of the West Central

Health District offer a variety of ways to be tested. HIV and Syphilis testing are available at no   charge. Also available at no charge is a convenient home test kit that includes HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia tests. “Fast Track” testing, at some health departments and the mobile   unit, includes HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis, and is available at a very affordable price. 

For more information or to find the health department nearest you, call 833-337-1749 or visit