“I can’t wait.” That’s the theme the World Hepatitis Alliance has chosen for World Hepatitis Day, July 28. The intent is to highlight the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis, the importance of testing and treatment, and to amplify the voices of people affected by calling for immediate action and the end of stigma and discrimination.
In our state, we declare that South Carolina Can’t Wait!
The week of April 10-16 presents a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of STDs in all populations.
STD Awareness Week provides an opportunity to examine how STDs impact our lives. It also helps to reduce STD-related stigma, fear, and discrimination. Through this special week, DHEC works to ensure that people have the tools and knowledge to prevent, test for, and treat STDs.
You can find an STD testing location near you by calling DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437) or visiting DHEC’s service locator at www.scdhec.gov/HIVLocator.
DHEC’s programs and community partners target their HIV and STD prevention efforts to reach persons most at risk of acquiring these infections. This includes efforts to reach youth and young adults with information and resources to avoid the infections.
In 2020, 84% of cases of chlamydia in South Carolina were diagnosed in adolescents and adults under the age of 30. Of those cases, more than one in four (28%) were diagnosed in youth ages 15 to 19.
Also, in 2020, more than two-thirds (70%) of gonorrhea cases were diagnosed in persons between the ages of 15 to 29. Of those persons diagnosed, almost one of every five cases (18%) were among youth ages 15 to 19.
DHEC’s programs also work to increase access to treatment and support services for those who are impacted by HIV and other STDs.
Participating local DHEC health departments will administer FREE HIV testing tomorrow, June 27, 2019 in recognition of National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). No appointment necessary, but encouraged. First observed in 1995, NHTD was created to increase awareness about HIV and encourage people to get tested. This year’s theme is “Doing It My Way.”
HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attack the body’s immune system, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy these cells so much that the body cannot fight off infections and disease and therefore creates a week immune system, making it susceptible to various diseases and cancers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, including approximately 166,000 people who are unaware of their status. In the United States, HIV is mainly spread by having anal or vaginal sex with someone who is already infected without using a condom or sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare drugs for injection with someone who is infected. Although it is not as common, HIV can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding or by being stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle.
The number of new HIV cases decreased 32.3% from 1,170 cases in 1998 to 792 cases in 2016.
African-Americans made up 28% of the population in South Carolina, yet were comprised 68% of people newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
People ages 20-29 years old had higher rates than other age groups.
People ages 50-59 years old comprised 31% of the people living with HIV/AIDS.
In 2011, 34.7% of adults had been tested for HIV, compared to 37.1% of adults in 2016.
Just over 46% of Hispanic/Latinos in South Carolina were tested for HIV.
By ensuring that everyone who has HIV is aware of their infection and is receiving treatment, new HIV infections in South Carolina can be dramatically reduced. Visit your local public health clinic and get tested. (Tell a friend, too!)
To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on April 18. Appointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (472-3432) to schedule your appointment. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.
This year’s theme for National STD Awareness Month is “Treat Me Right.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the theme presents an opportunity for providers to ensure they have the needed tools to properly detect and treat infections. It also encourages patients to learn about STDs and prevention while empowering them to ask their provider what they can do and how they can work together to stay safe and healthy.
Testing helps prevent spread of disease
Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. The same behaviors that increase the risk of acquiring these STDs also increase the risk for getting HIV. When left untreated, STDs can have severe health consequences to the person with the STD and to babies born to an infected mother. STD and HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of disease.
According to 2016 data, there were just over 29,000 cases of chlamydia, nearly 9,400 cases of gonorrhea, and over 300 cases of primary and secondary syphilis in South Carolina.
COLUMBIA — April is National STD Awareness Month and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging South Carolinians to get STD screenings.
To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on Wednesday, April 18. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.