Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Shuvani Sanyal, MD
STD Awareness Months
Awareness months are always so exciting for us here at The STI Project, because we’re fans of supporting one another’s work; so, STD Awareness Month, in particular, is like our Christmas – er, that statement just seems odd… How about, it’s like Forth of July for The STI Project? Oh, bother – still odd. I digress. Needless to say, April is an exciting time for us – let’s just leave it at that!
Not only are we celebrating our 1 yr. anniversary as an organization designed to tackle all things STD, we’re doing so alongside STD Awareness Month – by design!
April is actually the 5th National STD Awareness Month. Since 2009, MTV, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and other partners have been supporting Awareness Months with the Get Yourself Tested (GYT) campaign by working to eradicate stigma, encourage STD awareness and education, and normalize testing while connecting people to testing centers near them.
We think all of those efforts are just ducky!
But, what does all of that mean for you?
Well, nothing, really… Although, you certainly CAN get involved and join us in advocating for the sexual health of all people! (Hint: We really think you should!)
Here are some things you can do to help us promote awareness during the month of April and other awareness months all year round:
Show your support by:
- Getting educated – Many STDs have no signs or symptoms – a contributing factor to why 50% of people will contract an STD by the age of 25 – come curable, some not. Learn more about STDs in these fact pages providing brief information about STDs, symptoms, and treatment.
- Getting tested – Knowing your status is one of the steps in preventing STD transmission. Find a private provider or a nearby free or low-cost STD testing facility.
- Practicing prevention – STDs can be prevented. Learn how you can prevent STDs.
- Eliminating stigma and misconceptions – Follow The STI Project’s blog for our STD Awareness Month feature: ‘So True, So False’ – we’ll be posting daily to clarify fact from fiction!
- Support other organizations efforts – Check out some of the other awesome organizations promoting awareness months.
Want to help eliminate stigma?
Here are some additional things you can do to combat stigma:
- Add ‘people with STDs’ to your mental list of groups being inaccurately stigmatized and facing wrongful judgement.
- Take a stand against STD jokes that would stop someone from getting tested or talking about their sexual health with partners and that would make someone who has one feel ashamed or uncomfortable. You can do this by saying, ‘Dude, that’s not funny. How would you feel?’
- Pay attention to metaphors and harmful references such as: monster, leper, and calling someone dirty or clean. Try to stop using those descriptions, and try to get those you know to stop as well.
- Pay attention to stereotypes. Correct people when they say that being a slut means you probably have an STD or that someone with an STD is promiscuous or a cheater.
- Tell your story. If you have an STD, it may be too scary or too risky to come out about having an STD in public or to your friends and family like I have, but you can share your story anonymously either online or using a pen name. Sharing your experience helps dispel the stigmas about STDs and those who live with them, and lets others know that they are not alone and that STDs are not the end of a healthy sex life or fruitful relationships.
- If you’re in college, check out your campus sex-ed resources. Is their approach reinforcing or rejecting stigma? If you don’t like what you find, try to change it.
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Do you have other suggestions for how to get involved or know of other awareness months we should participate in? Have you recently become an STD advocate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!