STD prevention initiative underway at Knox County Health Department

One topic that many don’t feel comfortable talking about – which typically carries a negative stigma is sexual transmitted diseases. According to Erin Olson and Sam Jarvis with the Knox County Health Department – STDs in the area are still on the rise. In addition to the steady rise, more and more individuals are getting tested in the area – but the message that STDs are out there is just as strong.

Early detection and preventative strategies is the main focus of the health department’s initiative. “We’re focusing a lot on people who are 19-24 (years old) because that is where we tend to see higher rates,” said Maggie Acosta with the Knox County Health Department.

“We’ve been visiting school lunch hours and football and volleyball games – places where younger adults are, and places older adults are like restaurants. Sometimes we just need a reminder. It’s easy to just come in and get tested – it only takes a few minutes of your time.”  Olson says that when they are in schools speaking to today’s students – they are much more open about the subject of STDs.

She says talking with your kids about STDs, as awkward as it may be, doesn’t necessarily encourage a sexually-active lifestyle, but stressing the normalcy of a healthy relationship is the key.

For more information on getting tested, visit www.knoxcountyhealth.org.