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It’s STD Awareness Month
April is Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of STDs and to promote STD testing across the country. Adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable to STDs, including HIV. HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. You know you can get it HIV by unprotected sex and sharing needles but what do you know about hepatitis?
Here’s additional information on Hepatitis A-B-C that you should also know.
Transmission of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) can happen during sexual activity from fecal-oral contact or contamination. This means it can be passed from person to person and from sex toys to a person. Vaccination is the most effective means of preventing HAV transmission among persons at risk for infection.
A whopping 20-40% of adults seeking treatment in STD clinics have evidence of past or current Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Many of these infections could have been prevented through universal vaccination during delivery of STD prevention or treatment services.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be transmitted through sexual activity– the exact same way you get HIV. The factors found to be associated with sexual transmission of HCV are sex with multiple partners, and the presence of other STDs. You can also be at risk for HCV by sharing needles for any reason.
Check your local health department or even free clinic for information and testing services on these and other STDs. Untreated STDs can cause infertility, cancer, and even increase your risk for HIV infection. Consider abstinence to reduce your STD risk. You can also consider changing risky behaviors that less riskier ones. And if you choose to be sexually active, latex condoms can reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs.