Talk. Test. Treat: STI Awareness Week

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide, the majority of which are asymptomatic. Because of the stigma associated with STIs, many of those asymptomatic cases go undiagnosed and unseen. The lack of conversation around sexual health can lead to delayed diagnosis, increased transmission rates and long-term health complications.

During STI Awareness Week, observed the second full week in April, it’s crucial to recognize the significant impact of STIs worldwide and understand the importance of this year’s theme “Talk, Test, Treat.” The CDC encourages our nation’s healthcare providers to revisit the many ways that they can empower patients to take charge of their sexual health.

Use of opioids and other substances has been linked to increasing STIs and outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Talk: Providing the best medical care possible means talking to your patients about sexual health.

Taking a sexual history should be a part of routine care. Make sure your patients are aware of the different ways they may be able to access critical STI care, during STI Awareness Week and beyond.

Holistic, coordinated care is critical for addressing these overlapping epidemics. A ‘no-wrong-door’ approach – providing or connecting a person to all the services that meet their needs wherever they seek care – is crucial.

Test: Test your patients for STIs as recommended.

The CDC recommends STI screening for patients with behaviors that can place them at risk for infection.

Injection drug use is an important risk factor for STIs, and people who inject drugs (PWID) engage in sexual behaviors that may place them at increased risk of acquiring STIs. Yet, routine STI screening remains uncommon among PWID. 

SUD programs can and should integrate STI prevention, testing and linkage to care.

Treat: Follow CDC’s STI Treatment Guidelines to ensure appropriate treatment and care.

Many STIs are easily treatable, and some are even curable if treated in a timely manner. Left untreated, STIs can lead to severe health complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), increased risk of getting HIV, certain cancers and even infertility.

The 2021 STI Treatment Guidelines are the most current recommendations for treating patients who have, or who are at risk for infection.

Molecular testing for STIs is important as it provides precise and targeted approaches to disease diagnosis, treatment selection and monitoring. It enhances healthcare decision-making and improves patient outcomes. Navis is able to test for both STIs and substance use disorder treatment from the same sample with no additional collection needed. Contact us today to learn more about Navis Clinical Laboratories’ molecular testing options.

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