National STD Awareness Week is April 10th-16th, 2022, and according to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services it's an opportunity to highlight and raise awareness around STDs/STIs and how they impact our lives; reduce STI related stigma, fear, and discrimination; and ensure that people have the tools and knowledge to test, treat, and prevent STI's.

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Credit: Canva
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The MDHHS put out a press release this week urging Michiganders to get tested as part of Sexually Transmitted Infections Awareness Week.

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Credit: Canva
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Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive said:

"We can slow down the spread of STIs through routine testing. STI testing and treatment are critical and help to avoid serious complications, and testing is a normal part of our health maintenance to keep ourselves and our partners safe," We hope to empower individuals not to be afraid to go get tested and treated for STIs."

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Most Common STIs In Michigan

Gonorrhea and chlamydia continue to be the most common STIs in Michigan, however recent data shows an alarming increase in the number of syphilis cases. These infections are all treatable. However, if left untreated these infections can lead to serious complications for both men and women, and continue to spread to others. MDHHS recommends that everyone who is sexually active be routinely tested for STIs, especially after having sex with a new partner. Individuals are urged to make sure that syphilis is included when getting tested for STIs.

What Is Gonorrhea?

Credit: CDC
Credit: CDC
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Pictured above is a close-up of a Gonococcal lesion on the skin of a patient’s arm.

Gonorrhea, colloquially known as the clap, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Infection may involve the genitals, mouth, or rectum. Infected men may experience pain or burning with urination, discharge from the penis, or testicular pain. Infected women may experience burning with urination, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding between periods, or pelvic pain. Complications in women include pelvic inflammatory disease and in men includes inflammation of the epididymis. Many of those infected, however, have no symptoms. If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to joints or heart valves.

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What Is Chlamydia?

Credit: cancer.gov
Credit: cancer.gov
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Pictured above is a human pap smear showing Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Most people who are infected have no symptoms. When symptoms do appear they may occur only several weeks after infection; the incubation period between exposure and being able to infect others is thought to be on the order of two to six weeks. Symptoms in women may include vaginal discharge or burning with urination. Symptoms in men may include discharge from the penis, burning with urination, or pain and swelling of one or both testicles. The infection can spread to the upper genital tract in women, causing pelvic inflammatory disease, which may result in future infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

STI Stats In America

-1 in 5 people in the U.S. have an STI

-Almost half of new STIs were among youth aged 15-24

-New STIs total nearly $16 Billion in direct medical costs

You can get more info about STIs and testing here

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