STI Awareness Month

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Guest Blog by Taryn Lipiner, Mobile Prevention Team Intern

As the end of the month is quickly approaching, we wanted to take the time to acknowledge that April is dedicated to STI awareness, bringing attention to the importance of preventing, testing for and treating STIs. This month also gives us the opportunity to normalize routine STI testing and to start conversations about sexual health. In the United States, nearly 20 million new STIs occur each year, and given that infection rates continue to rise in our country, it’s critical that you know the facts in order to protect yourself and those around you. Firstly, you can’t tell if an individual has an STI just by looking at them. While some STIs don’t produce any symptoms, others may take up anywhere from a few days to several weeks before they present. Therefore, the only way to know for sure is to get tested.

It’s also important to note that STIs can only be spread through direct sexual contact or by coming into contact with infected body fluids during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Although birth control methods are effective ways to prevent pregnancy, they will not protect you from contracting STIs. So how can you best protect yourself? When used both correctly and consistently, condoms are an effective method to prevent STIs. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is also a great tool for preventing HIV transmission and is upwards of 95% effective when taken regularly. In addition, it’s important to know your sexual partners, and their STI history is as important as your own. Get tested whenever you or your partner has a new sexual partner. The recommendation is to get tested every 3 to 6 months.

Don’t Forget! The Mobile Prevention Team at Victory Programs has free and confidential STI testing and linkage to treatment every Tuesday from 3-6 pm at 29 Stanhope Street. Although appointments are preferred, they’re not required. In order to book an appointment, please email testing@vpi.org.

We also provide a wide range of community-based prevention education and services, including Transgender Peer Support Services and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Support. For more information about these services, please call (617) 927-0836.

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