GLADWIN COUNTY - National Condom Week is Feb. 14-21. This week is used to educate consumers, patients, students, and professionals about the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI's),AIDS and teenage pregnancy. The only way to prevent STI's, AIDS and pregnancy is abstinence but if that option is not for you, using a condom or latex barrier is another way of preventing infections.
The national and state statistics for STI 's are disheartening;due to the fact we continue to have an increase in infections that are easily avoided by use of condoms. The national rate of Chlamydia is the highest ever reported for any STI, with a total of 1,307,893 cases in 2010.
Gonorrhea, the second most commonly reported STI, totaled 309,341 cases in 2010. Syphilis rates are the highest since 1995 at 45,834. Chlamydia rates have increased 5.1 percent, Gonorrhea rates have increased 2.9 percent and syphilis rates have increased 2.2 percent since 2009. An estimated 18,800 Michigan citizens are infected with HIV and almost 4,000 are unaware of their infection.
Michigan ranks 10th for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Early diagnosis and intervention is an important component to decrease the risks of spreading the infection and to prevent complications that go along with STI's. STI's left untreated can be painful, make you very sick, and could cause death. Some STI's that go untreated for a long period of time can make males and females infertile. STI's can also cause birth defects or health problems in newborns.
Common signs or symptoms of some STI's may be: unusual vaginal or penile discharge, unusual odor, any type of bump, lump, sore, rash, itching, swelling of lymph nodes, painful urination, pain or burning with intercourse, or lower abdominal pain. Testing is the only way to be sure that you don't have an STI.