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April is “Get Yourself Tested” Month

April 4, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Many people who have sexually transmitted infections don't know they have them - and, therefore, end up passing them along to their partners. April is set aside by health-care providers across the nation to focus on stopping this cycle, by encouraging sexually active young adults to be tested.

Jenna Carlson, a health educator for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, says it's a major public health issue.

"If you're sexually active, one in two people under the age of 25 contracts a sexually transmitted infection, and they don't know it. So, we would like to get that to change so that people aren't as scared, and they come in and get tested."

She says Planned Parenthood clinics across the state are able to conduct the tests, most of which require only a urine sample.

"Most are treatable. With a lot of bacteria infections, a simple antibiotic treatment can cure them. All of the viruses - those are lifelong, so some of those are going to be with you forever."

Carlson says regular testing, preventive services and healthy decision-making are the keys to curbing the staggering number of new sexually transmitted infections.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA