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DHMH Press Releases : DHMH Highlights STD Prevention as a Part of HIV Prevention

DHMH Highlights STD Prevention as a Part of HIV Prevention During

STD Awareness Month

Free webinar for providers on April 2

 

Baltimore, MD (April 1, 2014) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other national and local organizations in observing STD Awareness Month this April.  The national theme for 2014 is “STD Prevention is a Part of HIV Prevention.”

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also known as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), include syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes, and can place a person at increased risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV infection.  Preventing STIs and treating curable STIs can help prevent the spread of HIV.  

 “In order to have an impact on STI and HIV rates in Maryland, we must take a comprehensive approach to prevention,” said Dr. Laura Herrera, DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. “Health care providers should routinely screen clients for sexually transmitted infections as well as HIV."

In 2012, Maryland had the 4th highest syphilis rate in the nation, with 7.4 cases per 100,000 population (431 cases reported).  Fifty-two percent of persons with syphilis were also co-infected with HIV.  Additionally, in the same year, 5,686 gonorrhea cases were reported and approximately 6 percent of those cases were also co-infected with HIV.  Chlamydia is the most commonly reported infectious disease in Maryland, with 26,534 cases reported in 2012. 

STIs affect people of all ages, races, and sexual orientations, but STIs and HIV are preventable if people take charge of their sexual health.  Individuals who are sexually active are encouraged to follow these guidelines:

  •  Reduce the number of sexual partners;
  • Consistently and correctly use condoms for oral, anal, and vaginal sexual contact;
  • Don’t drink or use drugs before sexual contact, since those substances can cloud your judgment about sexual risks and protective behaviors;
  • Get tested and treated to protect you and your partner(s).

To educate providers on the latest screening recommendations for managing STIs in HIV-positive patients, DHMH is co-sponsoring its Fifth Annual Sexual and Reproductive Health live webinar on Wednesday April 2, 2014 from 12:00pm to 1:00 pm.  "The Intersection of Clinical and Public Health Practice: STI Management in the HIV Infected Patient,” will be presented by  Dr. Khalil Ghanem.  Health professionals interested in watching the webinar can log on to www.jhsph.edu/maphtc.  The webinar will be recorded and archived for two years.

For more information on:

STIs:

Treatment guidelines and clinician training resources:

Free STI/HIV testing sites near you:

Free test kits for chlamydia and gonorrhea for Maryland and Washington, D.C. residents:

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