Published on September 18th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Sexually Transmitted Infections on the RISE in South Carolina
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017 had the most reportable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to date. STIs are infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual intercourse. Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis were among the three highest STIs that have increased dramatically in the last two years. This is an apparent public health issue in South Carolina (SC) as we are ranked the 5th highest for Chlamydia and the 4th highest for gonorrhea in the nation as of 2017 according to the CDC. These are highly preventable infections, and despite the various preventative measures available, they are not used half as much as recommended. As an advanced practice nurse, it is important for me to educate the community regarding these highly preventable infections. Individuals sometimes are without symptoms and therefore do not get treatment needed which causes them to spread the infection unknowingly. It is important that sexually active individuals under the age of 25 especially, and anyone with a sex partner is screened yearly as well as individuals with risky sexual behaviors. Providers should be screening individuals 25 and under because they are at highest risk. Social, economic, and behavioral factors play a role in the spread of STIs and African Americans have higher rates of STIs than whites.
If you are sexually active or have ever been sexually active, you are at risk for STIs and should be tested by your healthcare provider. Your information is always confidential and you will receive the proper treatment if needed. If you do test positive for an STI, it is important to notify your partner immediately so that they can be treated as well to prevent you from getting the infection again or spreading it to others. If you would like to notify your partner anonymously, you can do so by visiting https://www.stdcheck.com/anonymous-notification.php and entering their email or phone number to let them know to get tested. It is essential to revisit your provider three months after you are treated for an STI so that you can be rechecked. Reinfection with Gonorrhea and Chlamydia is very common. In an effort to take preventative action I will be conducting research in SC for my doctoral program on increasing three-month rescreening rates for individuals who test positive for Chlamydia.
Columbia Area Black Nurses Association’s health policy committee is focusing on HIV/AIDs/STDs as a policy issue this year. We will be collaborating with organizations in the community to develop an action plan and address this public health concern. It is our duty as nurses to advocate for our communities and spread knowledge. Now that you have the information, I urge you to take control of your health and be more intentional with your body. Preventative measures include abstinence and condom use. Talk with your healthcare provider about other methods of staying sexually healthy.
About the Author:
Verlisha Goins is the acting secretary for Columbia Area Black Nurses Association. She is a current member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Sigma Theta Tau International, Phi Kappa Chapter and Capital City NP group. She is a practicing family nurse practitioner and currently pursuing her doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) from Wilkes University. She received a BSN and MSN from South University. Her professional areas of interest include Public Health, preventative health/ wellness and the adolescent population.