Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

NEW CITY – April is STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Awareness Month.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents to take steps to prevent STIs, get tested, and be treated.

Sexually transmitted infections, sometimes called by their old name, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are common among sexually active teens, young adults, and seniors.

Sexually active people can be at high risk of getting infected, even if using an effective birth control method. Rockland County is continuing to see a big increase in sexually transmitted infections among teens and young adults, especially chlamydia.

Chlamydia is a common STI that can affect both men and women. It can be easily cured, however if left untreated can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant.

These prevention tips can help you prevent STIs:

  • Stay in one relationship with an uninfected partner who has only you as a partner
  • Use condoms correctly and consistently
  • Reduce the number of sex partners
  • Avoid sex with people you don’t know
  • Don’t mix sex with drugs and alcohol
  • Abstinence from sexual contact is 100% effective

HPV is another common sexually transmitted infection. It can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).

Rockland County officials said the vaccine Gardasil® can prevent, not treat, certain types of HPV infection and can ultimately prevent certain types of cancer, not just HPV infection. The vaccine works by preventing some of the most common types of HPV, and the health problems that the virus can cause.

The following Health Department clinics offer the vaccine Gardasil® and also provide testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections at low or no cost: STI Clinic: (845-364-3771) and Family Planning Services (845-364-2531).

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2nMC9J7.

Becoming informed and sharing your knowledge with others can save lives. “Parents should talk with their teens about prevention and strongly consider vaccinating girls and boys against HPV starting as early as age 11 to ensure full protection before they become sexually active,” said Dr. Ruppert. “This is a vaccine that can prevent several types of cancer, including cervical cancer!”

Lifestyle changes that reduce risk, getting regular STI screening, and prompt disease treatment are the most effective ways to protect one’s health and prevent the spread of all sexually transmitted infections.

For more information visit the New York State Department of Health website at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/std/.

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