Georgia ranks high in STD rates and Columbus Health Dept. offers tips to prevent contracting an STD

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The month of April marks STD awareness month and the West Central Health District is offering preventative steps that can be taken to protect against STDs.

In 2022, according to the health department, Georgia ranked fifth in the country for gonorrhea and chlamydia cases. Georgia also ranked 17th for congenital syphilis cases and 20th for primary and secondary syphilis cases.

So how are more people contracting STDs and don’t know?

“One way we can begin to reduce the number of STD cases is for people to get tested,” STD Program and HIV Prevention Manager Antonio B. Lawrence, for the West Central Health District said. “If you know you’re positive, you can be treated, and not pass the infection to anyone else.”

The health department says untreated STDs can lead to an increased risk of contracting and passing along HIV, long-term blindness, and infertility. The majority of STDs are curable and treatable and the health department advises anyone who tests positive to seek treatment immediately to avoid becoming reinfected.

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The Columbus Health Department urges locals to remember to, “Talk, Test and Treat.  Talk to your partner and healthcare providers. Get tested; it’s the only way to know for sure.  Finish your course of treatment.”

The health department listed the following precautions people can start to protect against STDs:

  • Practice abstinence – the surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. This means vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

  • Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.

  • Have fewer partners – agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STD.

  • Talk with your partner(s) about STDs and staying safe before you have sex. Getting the conversation started might be uncomfortable, but protecting your health is your responsibility.

  • Get tested- many STDs don’t have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems.

For more information about STD prevention, testing, and treatment visit or call the health department at 833-337-1749.

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