April is National Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month and the Wyoming Department of Health has reminded residents it offers free vouchers for STD testing. Sheridan Media's Chris Foy has the story.
The Wyoming Department of Health says regular screening for sexually transmitted diseases is important to help keep many of the state's residents healthy. To combat the problem and ensure the health of Wyomingites, the department offers vouchers for free STD laboratory testing.
Field Epidemiologist with the department's Communicable Disease Unit, Courtney Smith, says in a media release that STDs are often difficult - even impossible - for people to realize they are infected because of a lack of obvious symptoms associated with certain diseases.
Having a sexually transmitted disease and not knowing it is just part of the problem the Wyoming Department of Health is trying to correct. If left untreated, Smith says chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause serious complications, from pelvic inflammation to an increased risk of contracting HIV.
And Smith says chlamydia is the most common STD in Wyoming - and the fastest growing - with 2,545 infections reported in 2012, an increase of 285 incidents compared to 2011. The highest infection rate for chlamydia occurs among teens and young adults.
The Wyoming Department of Health recommends routine testing for sexually active people between 13 and 26 years old, those with new partners in the past 60 days, pregnant women, those with multiple partners in the past 60 days and those with a history of incarceration or STDs.
The department offers free chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and C as well as HIV laboratory testing and treatment for those at risk of infection. To get a voucher for free laboratory testing, visit www.knowyo.org or text “know” to 91011. Vouchers can be printed from the website or shown from your phone and taken to local clinics. Below you'll find a list of local clinics that are participating in the program.
Sheridan County Public Health Services
Family Planning of the Big Horns
Johnson County Public Health
Gillette Reproductive Health
Campbell County Public Health