Customizable Article - Treat Me Right
The pre-written article below can be adapted and used by health departments, community-based organizations, journalists, bloggers, media, or others looking to spread the word about STD prevention to groups such as your partners, local decision makers, or the general public.
How can I use this article? The article can be shared on listservs, online, in newspapers, magazines, blogs, or newsletters. It is customizable – you can use data from your state or county to make it more meaningful to the people in your community.* You can customize this article further by adding an optional quote from someone, such as a spokesperson, health official, or a member of your organization’s leadership. A placeholder in the text indicates where a quote could be inserted.
Where can I find STD data to customize the article? Reported data for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can be accessed by contacting your state or local health department, browsing CDC’s STD Surveillance Report tables, or using CDC’s AtlasPlus (a tool that allows you to access state and county level data for these and other reportable diseases). If you need national data to fit your needs, please refer to the STD Surveillance Report tables or national “State of STDs” infographicCdc-pdf.
*CDC includes cases of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis when referenced within these articles. P&S syphilis are the most infectious stages of the disease and therefore are helpful for understanding syphilis trends across the country. Using local P&S syphilis data is encouraged for the fairest comparison with what is happening nationally.
The customizable article begins below.
It Takes Two: Patients and Providers Can Take Down STDs Together
The numbers are in and the fact is this: sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are surging across the United StatesCdc-pdf. In <insert jurisdiction> there were x cases of chlamydia, x cases of gonorrhea, and x cases of syphilis in 2017 alone.
Anyone who has sex is at risk of infection, so what can be done? Two important actions can have big payoffs:
- Individuals can arm themselves with the facts about STDs;
- Healthcare providers and patientsExternal can consistently talk about sexual health.
“At a time when STDs are at a record high, it’s never been more important to protect your patients’ sexual health as a provider, or stand up for your own sexual health as a patient,” says Gail Bolan, MD, Director of STD Prevention at CDC. “Having a strong patient-provider relationship is always important, and the stronger these relationships are, the weaker STDs will become.”
Enter Treat Me Right – a campaign with resources and materials for patients and providers to improve communication and increase the productivity of office visits.
Treat Me Right: Tips for Patients to Work with their Healthcare Providers
By talking to a provider about what to do—and how to work together—patients can be proactive in safeguarding their sexual health. Here are some ways patients can stand up for themselves and their health in and out of the exam room:
- Prepare to honestly answer provider’s questions about sexExternal.
- Get tested – many STDs are curable, and all are treatable. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD.
- Get treated – prevent long-term, irreversible damage by starting treatment immediately.
- Know the benefits of expedited partner therapy (EPT)Cdc-pdf in which a provider may be able to give medicines or a prescription to partners of someone with an STD without seeing them first.
- Get retested –STDs can occur more than once, so getting retested in 3 months is important, even if you and your partner took medicine.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – with sex partners and providers.
Protecting Our Nation’s Health: Healthcare Providers’ Key Role in Keeping People Healthy
In addition to offering the basics of STD diagnosis and treatment, Treat Me Right can help providers engage in a way that makes their patients feel heard and respected, especially around sensitive issues. For example:
- Take a thorough sexual history—ask essential sexual health questionsCdc-pdfExternal in a welcoming, relaxed tone.
- Build trust with the patient— for example, make your office teen friendlyCdc-pdfExternal to put younger patients at ease.
- Reassure patients that their information is confidential—especially before asking sensitive questions.
- Ensure that the patient understands all terms used to avoid confusion.
- Determine which STD tests the patient needs—information from the sexual history also helps in selecting the anatomical sites that should be tested. Some patients, such as gay or bisexual men or pregnant women, may have special testing considerations.
- Follow CDC’s STD Treatment Guidelines if patients are diagnosed with an STD.
- Encourage your patients to return for follow-up testing in 3 months—reinfection is common for some STDs.
Take Control and Be Informed
[“Insert OPTIONAL Quote from health official, spokesperson, or other organizational leadership,” said [enter name, title, organization. “Insert second part of quote as indicated/appropriate.”]
When patients and providers work together, it empowers individuals to take control of their sexual health, and it allows providers to more quickly diagnose and treat any infections that occur. Let’s all work together to reduce STDs.
Please visit the Treat Me Right website for information on STDs, as well as for resources for healthcare providers and patients.