Letter: STI testing available to students
TO THE EDITOR
The sexual freedom sought after by many young adults may not be as free as they think. In fact, for some young people it may cost them more than they could possibly imagine. Consider just a few of the many statistics shared by the Centers for Disease Control regarding Sexually Transmitted Infections. Two of the most common forms of STIs are often silent and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, cancer, and infertility
1 out of 4 college aged students has an STI
1 out of 5 has herpes, an incurable STI
The primary cause of throat and oral cancer is now a Sexually Transmitted Infection — surpassing cigarette smoking
The CDC estimates that 20 million people are currently infected with an STI
One half of the 20 million people infected are young people, ages 15-24 years of age. To
Undiagnosed STIs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year
One in two young adults will contract an STI by age 25
This data and much more, published in 2014 by the CDC, also reveals that young adults remain at the highest risk of acquiring an STI, especially, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Despite being a relatively small portion of the sexually active population, young adults accounted for almost two thirds of all reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2014.
Unfortunately, the consequences of STIs are most severe for young adults and especially young women. Because chlamydia and gonorrhea often have no symptoms, it is believed that many young adults with these diseases go undiagnosed and therefore do not know they are infected. Chlamydia, one of the most common STIs, is also known as the silent STI and the fertility thief. Without treatment, this disease can lead to lifelong repercussions for a woman’s reproductive health, including pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
According to the CDC, only a fraction of young adults are likely to have sought STI testing and treatment. If all of the young adults who have been unknowingly exposed and have contracted an STI were tested, it is possible that the 20 million new STI infections accurately diagnosed each year could more than double.
In order to serve and educate our community about this epidemic, LCCM will now include Sexually Transmitted Infection testing and treatment along with our other free services. Under the Direction of Dr. Michelle Monticello, OB/Gyn, one of our Medical Directors, she and our trained Registered Nurses will test and treat women and their partners. We will be open for testing on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Appointments are necessary and may be made by contacting LCCM at 989-773-0379. The following tests are available;
Young adults seeking testing can expect to experience a caring and non-judgmental environment, staffed with knowledgeable professionals who are sensitive to the needs of their clients. Their privacy will be honored and all medical records will be kept completely confidential. (With the exception of state mandated reporting)
Because of the generosity of individuals, businesses, and churches in our community, we currently do not need to charge for our testing services. The antibiotics used to treat those with a positive chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis test, will be provided by the Central Michigan District Health Department.
Many people in our communities have given graciously to support this endeavor. LCCM is thankful to be serving in such a caring community and believe that together, we will have a positive impact upon the lives of young adults who live all around us.
Mary Barz, Executive
Life Choices of Central Michigan