Most of the people affected by STDs are young people between the ages 15 and 24. African Americans and Hispanics are also more affected by some STDs than other groups. Statistics show that one in two sexually active Americans will get an STD by the time they turn 25.
STDs often don't have signs and symptoms and can only be detected through a test. If you have an STD and don't treat it, it can lead to serious complications so it's important that you are tested. Having certain STDs can also make you more susceptible to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, which is another good reason to get tested.
All sexually active residents should contact their doctor or local clinic to get tested. There are several public STD clinics throughout the state which offer free STD testing. Anyone who is 13 years of age or older can be tested and treated for STDs confidentially and without parental consent.
Getting tested is easy and painless. Some STD tests are as simple as a urine test or a blood sample. Contact your local STD clinic for information on testing.
About hepatitis C virus (HCV)
HCV testing is recommended for anyone at increased risk for HCV infection, including:
- Persons born from 1945 through 1965 (baby boomers)
- Persons who have ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago
- Recipients of clotting factor concentrates made before 1987
- Recipients of blood transfusions or solid organ transplants before July 1992
- Patients who have ever received long-term hemodialysis treatment
- Persons with known exposures to HCV, such as
- Health care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-positive blood
- Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who later tested HCV-positive
- All persons with HIV infection
- Patients with signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme tests)
- Children born to HCV-positive mothers (to avoid detecting maternal antibody, these children should not be tested before age 18 months)
There are many testing options in Connecticut. Contact your primary care provider.
There’s no vaccine for HIV, Hep C, or herpes. But you CAN protect yourself against other STDs with vaccination!
The Hepatitis A and B vaccination called TwinRix is effective at preventing both viruses. Hep A can spread through contaminated food or sex activities like unprotected oral sex. Hep B is spread through unprotected anal and vaginal sex or sharing used needles.
HPV vaccination (Gardasil or Cervarix) prevents several strains of genital warts that can cause throat, penis, anal, or cervical cancer.
Both vaccines require 3 shots over several months:
- Twinrix (2nd shot 1 month after the first, and the 3rd shot 5 months after your first one)
- Gardasil-9 (the newest version, protects against 9 strains of the Human Papilloma Virus, 2nd shot 2 months after the first, and the 3rd one 4 months later)
The HPV vaccination is recommended for everyone up to age 26 and is most effective if given before beginning sexual activity.
Contact your primary care provider or your local community health center to find out how you can get vaccinated.
Click on these links for more information on these important vaccines: