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Testing, Testing...April is the Month for Testing Reminders

April 22, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa – Testing, testing. That's the message for National STI Awareness Month, and there's a push in the final week for Iowans to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases (STDs).

More than 11,000 Iowans were diagnosed in 2009, the latest year of records available. Rhonda Ruby, health education manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, warns that number is likely much higher, since many cases go undetected. While everyone is encouraged to be screened, they particularly are urging the tests for women under age 25, says Ruby.

"There are so many STIs that people don't know they have, because we know 50 percent of STIs and STDs show no symptoms. So, we want to be sure people are getting tested."

Ruby says tests can be performed at a doctor's office or at Planned Parenthood clinics. The clinics offer testing on a sliding fee scale. She says the 15-to-25 age group is of particular importance.

"It's really important for that age group to get tested, because we know that the STIs and STDs that are going to be diagnosed are going to be in that age group. But basically, call Planned Parenthood or your health care provider – and anybody can help them get that."

She says ignoring symptoms or not seeking testing can mean serious illness later, or can impact fertility.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA