COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- On this most romantic of holidays, health officials would like to remind you to remain safe when it comes to amorous connections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STDs are at an all-time high in the United States, and there are an estimated 20 million new STD infections every year.
The Florida Department of Health in Collier County says that when taking the necessary steps, STDs are preventable. They recommend the following to reduce the risk of catching or spreading STDs:
• Abstinence. Not having sex is the surest way to avoid STDs.
• Condoms. Using condoms correctly and consistently every time during sex is a highly effective way to reduce the risk of STD transmission.
• Get Tested. It is critical for individuals to know their STD status to stop transmission and get proper treatment. Many STDs are curable, and all are treatable. It is also important that sexual partners get tested for STD, and that they share their status with each other in an open and honest manner.
• Vaccination. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STD in the US and can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. The HPV vaccine protects against many types of cancers and health-related problems, such as genital warts. Routine HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls ages 11 to 12. Hepatitis B is also vaccine-preventable. All infants are recommended to be vaccinated for hepatitis B, but if this was not done, all people seeking protection against hepatitis B should get the vaccine.
• Mutual Monogamy. Mutual monogamy is agreeing to being sexually active with only one person. STDs can be avoided by being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.
DOH-Collier offers STD services at their Naples and Immokalee sites. For more information please call 239-252-8207 (Naples), 239-252-7300 (Immokalee) or visit http://collier.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/infectious-disease-services/std/index.html.