Each year, public health advocates declare April to be STD Awareness month, to bring attention to the issue and, more importantly, to encourage people to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
This is also an important time to talk about the connection between STDs and relationship abuse or violence. While people often attribute STD transmissions to reckless behavior, the truth is that women who experience coerced sex, birth control sabotage or rape are significantly more likely to contract an STD. Consider these facts:
- One in three adolescents tested for sexually transmitted infections and HIV have experienced domestic or dating violence.
- Women disclosing physical violence are nearly three times more likely to experience a sexually transmitted infection than women who don’t disclose physical abuse
In addition to speaking out about the link between abuse and STDs, and sharing personal stories, this is also a great time to connect with your health care provider about your own health.
MTV, Planned Parenthood and the Kaiser Family Foundation are partnering this month on a program called GYT 09 – which stands for Get Yourself Tested. The project’s website provides facts on STDs, tips on how to bring up testing with partners and health care providers, and an easy-to-use testing center locator, provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Learn more at www.GYT09.org