STD Awareness: Confronting Sky-High STD Rates

For the past five years, Americans have been breaking records left and right — a good thing when we’re talking about athletic feats or scientific breakthroughs, but not so great when we’re shattering records for catching sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are all on the upswing, with a combined 2.3 million cases in 2017 — and those are just the cases that were reported. Since most people with these infections don’t know they have them, the real number is thought to be much higher. The United States has the dubious honor of boasting the highest STD rates of all industrialized countries — though rates are also climbing in England and Western Europe.

The good news is that these three STDs are preventable and curable. Sexually active people can dramatically reduce their risk by using condoms and dental dams, or by being in mutually monogamous relationships in which partners test negative for these infections. And, because many STDs don’t show symptoms, it’s important for them to receive regular STD screening to ensure infections are caught and cured before they can do any damage.

But there’s also bad news. First, while the symptoms of these infections can be awful, they compel you to seek prompt treatment — making these awful symptoms a good thing, in a weird way. Unfortunately, most people with these infections don’t have symptoms, allowing the bacteria that cause them to spread silently from person to person. If not caught, chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to chronic pain and fertility problems, and syphilis can lead to organ damage and even death. These infections can also increase HIV risk and be passed to a baby during childbirth. Continue reading

Funding Cuts Will Hurt Women Like Me

During the recent debates in Congress over federal funding for family planning services, Senator Jon Kyl told a bold faced lie when he claimed that abortion was 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. Senator Kyl was called out by the media and Democratic members of the Senate, because most people know what Planned Parenthood actually “does”: Breast exams. Pap smears. Birth control. Continue reading

Jan Brewer Slashes Funding for Women’s Health Care

We cannot catch a break with Jan Brewer!  Her hits just keep coming!   Earlier this month we shared The 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Jan Brewer.  Well, the list continues to grow.  Last week we found out that her AHCCCS funding cuts are having far-reaching negative consequences beyond denying transplant patients lifesaving care; the cuts also eliminate well-woman care, including the vital cancer prevention care and birth control access provided to women through an annual gynecological exam.

Planned Parenthood and all medical providers who accept AHCCCS are wondering how we will serve our patients so we can help women stay healthy and assist in early detection of cancers like cervical cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.  This decision will also cost Arizona an additional $15 million of federal Medicaid funding as a direct result of the elimination of these vital services.

Thanks to Jan Brewer and a majority of state legislators, low income women in Arizona can no longer receive these services! Women make up 70 percent of adults on the Medicaid program – that is more than 900,000 Arizona women who can longer access this care.  Essentially, Jan Brewer and many in the legislature have cut out prevention care for low-income women. Check out what Planned Parenthood Arizona CEO Bryan Howard told the Public Service News about the funding cuts:

Howard says a typical well-woman exam costs around $120, making it unaffordable for most AHCCCS recipients, who live on less than $1,000 a month.

Without the annual exams, Howard predicts that the eventual cost to taxpayers will be much higher, whether it’s for prenatal care and delivery of a baby a woman would have preferred to postpone, or dealing with a life-threatening disease.

“Treatment of cervical cancer, treatment of a breast mass, or breast cancer. Treatment is invariably much more expensive than the prevention.”

Make sure you cast your ballot for candidates who will protect women’s health care access.  Visit www.advocatesaz.org and view our endorsed candidates and see our 2010 Voter Guide. All of our endorsed candidates have made a commitment to protect women’s health care access in Arizona!