By Renee Reese, Public Affairs SpecialistJanuary 27, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga., -Sexually transmitted diseases continue to pose a serious public health threat to Americans. This health threat particularly affects young women, African Americans, men who have sex with men (MSM), individuals living in poverty, or who have limited access to healthcare.
The Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield STD rate for 2010 is 748 out of 100,000 as compared to the 2009 Georgia State rate of 676 out of 100,000 persons according to the National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance.
Although our incidence rate here at Fort Stewart is down from previous years we have a long way to go, according to Jim Arnold, chief of Disease Epidemiology and Disease Control of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Winn Army Community Hospital.
Mr. Arnold simply explains "stupidity and ignorance" are to blame for our high STD rate.
Early detection and treatment of STDs is vital in order to prevent serious health consequences and increased transmission. Screening is particularly important since common STDs like trichomonas and Chlamydia often have no signs or symptoms, and yet can be easily prevented and treated with antibiotics.
The CDC recommends annual Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 26. They also recommend that girls and women between the ages of nine and 26, who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots, be fully vaccinated against HPV.
Mr. Arnold sees the importance of the vaccination for the overall health of young people, both boys and girls, men and women in this age group. "You are protecting your child against cancer", he said.
See your primary care manager for STD screening by calling the central appointments line at 912-435-6633.
The STD education classes are offered for any size group by the Department of Preventive Medicine. Their office is number is 912-435-6958 to schedule STD and HIV awareness presentations. Additional information and online tools are also readily available at www.cdc.gov/std.