Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall is the public information director of the Henry/Stark Health Departments.
Blog: What you need to know about STDs
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Rae-Ann Tucker-Marshall
Henry-Stark Health Department
Aug. 26, 2013 10 a.m.

"With an estimated 20 million new sexually

transmitted infections occurring every year in the US, it is clear that STDs

remain a widespread health threat in this country," noted Sandy Sommer, RN Director

of Clinical Services for the Henry County Health Department.

Sommer adds, "In addition, STD infections cost the American healthcare

system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. And it's America's

youth that is shouldering the substantial burden of these infections. The

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of all

new STDs in the country occur among young men and women aged 15 to 24."

Sommer notes,"With all these disturbing statistics it is obvious that

STD Awareness Month is an opportune time to remind area residents that the

Health Department offers confidential:

~ STD Testing for Males and Females

~ Treatment of STDs

~ Contraceptive Supplies

~ Preventative immunizations against such STDs as Hepatitis B and HPV

~ Counseling, Education, and Referral

~ Expedited Partner Treatment

Testing and knowledge of infection are vital to reducing the incidence

and spread of STDs. Because many infections have no symptoms, those at risk

need to get tested and find out if they are infected.

There are many actions you can take to protect yourself and others from


* Abstinence - The most reliable way to avoid infection with an STD are

to abstain from sex or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship

with an uninfected partner.

* Correct and consistent use of condoms - Consistent use of latex

condoms reduces the risk of HIV and other STDs. (Supplies are available

through the Health Departments Kewanee and Colona offices.)

* Screening - Getting tested and treated for STDs can protect you from

serious health consequences caused by STDs. (STD Testing available at the

Health Department.)

* Immunizations - Receiving recommended Hepatitis B and HPV

immunizations can almost completely prevent infections covered by the


Adds Sommer, "Though the subject of STDs may not be a comfortable

healthcare issue to discuss, we want people to remember the Health

Department is a source of confidential testing, treatment, and education.

And we are literally just a phone call away. People should know we offer

the tools and services people need to stay healthy."

The clinic accepts medicaid payments and private pay. A sliding fee

scale, based on the client's income, has been established to assist

low-income families to obtain services. In addition, grant funds are

available for those who meet certain eligibility requirements.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call the Health

Department at (309) 852-5272 or visit our website at

www.henrystarkhealth.com. You may also find us on Facebook at Henry and

Stark County Health Departments.

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