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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: April 17, 2013
WILMINGTON, DE - Young people aged 15 to 24 account for nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occurring in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To prevent the spread of STDs, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends that parents talk to their youth about preventing infection.
"Parents need to become 'askable parents,' " said DPH Medical Director Awele Maduka-Ezeh, MD. "Being 'askable' means that your teen or young adult considers you approachable, open to communication, and willing to answer their questions. To learn more about how to become an 'askable parent,' visit the American Sexual Health Association web page for tips and information. Together, we can reduce the incidence of STDs."
STDs pose a serious public health threat, affecting young and old, rich and poor, of all races and sexual orientations. Sexually active individuals should practice safe sex and get tested regularly if they are at risk of infection. Infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women, and these and other common STDs can also increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men. In 2012, 4,438 chlamydia cases, 899 gonorrhea cases and 106 syphilis cases were reported to DPH.
Since STDs often have no signs or symptoms, screening and early diagnosis are vital to prevent serious health consequences. CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. CDC also recommends that males and females between the ages of 11 and 26 be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus (HPV). For sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM), CDC recommends annual HIV and syphilis blood testing, and chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, with more frequent testing for MSM who engage in high-risk behavior.
For more information about STDs, visit www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/stds.html or www.cdc.gov/std. Visit the American Sexual Health Association online at www.ashastd.org/parents.html for more information about how to become an "askable parent."
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.