April 11, 2023
MCHD observes STI Awareness Week
MOBILE, Ala. — STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Awareness Week is observed the second full week in April. This time is used to raise awareness about STIs and how they impact peoples’ lives; reduce STI-related stigma, fear, and discrimination; and ensure people have the tools and knowledge for prevention, testing, and treatment.
“This is an opportunity for health centers and individual providers to educate their patients about STIs, and to help normalize sexual health discussions,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County. “We continue to have approximately 80 cases of STIs a week in our county residents.”
“The CDC offers resources you can use in these efforts. Check out their STI Awareness Week website (https://www.cdc.gov/std/saw/index.htm) for ideas and materials.”
Dr. Michaels encourages the community to visit CDC’s Get Healthy and Ready for Summer 2023 website (https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/summer/index.html). The warmer months are full of events that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Preparing for this season is a great opportunity to make sure that you stay healthy before, during, and after these celebrations.
The Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) continues to offer mpox vaccine. Clients who take part in Family Health’s Ryan White Program should make an appointment to receive the Jynneos vaccine by calling 251-690-8889. Other individuals interested in receiving the vaccine may register through MCHD’s Bureau of Disease Surveillance and Control at this link — https://redcap.link/MPXmchd. A mpox vaccine locator (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/mpox/vaccines/index.html#mpoxvaxlocator) is one of the many resources to help LGBTQ+ patients proactively manage their sexual health.
“The CDC reports a significant increase in congenital syphilis in the U.S. since 2012,” Dr. Michaels said. This is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.
MCHD has also created a website titled “Project Barrier.” Its goal is to promote sexual health through outreach, social media, surveying, and testing. Information on chlamydia, gonorrhea, mpox, HIV, and syphilis can be found at https://project-barrier-mc-hd.hub.arcgis.com/
The CDC estimates that about 20 percent of the U.S. population – approximately one in five people in the U.S. – had an STI on any given day in 2018. STIs acquired that year cost the American health care system nearly $16 billion in health care costs alone.