September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

This day brings attention to the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV and to their health and social needs. The Malheur County Health Department supports efforts to bring awareness to the issues related to HIV and aging in our country. Through National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, our organization is committed to putting an end to HIV/AIDS related stigma, discrimination, and misinformation about prevention care and treatment for those over 50.

In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported persons aged 50 and older accounted for approximately:

  • 17% of new HIV diagnoses
  • 47% of persons with HIV
  • 71% of all deaths of persons diagnosed HIV infection

Of those individuals who were diagnosed with HIV at age 50 or older, 40% were 50-54 years of age.

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, launched in 2008 by The AIDS Institute, is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, and www.hiv.gov.  The campaign highlights the complex issues related to HIV prevention, care, and treatment for aging populations in the United States.  The goal of the campaign is to emphasize the need for prevention, research, and data targeting the older population, medical understanding of the aging process and its impact on HIV/AIDS.

Everyone has an HIV status. People who know their HIV status can protect themselves and others. Testing is easy, but only 37% of adult Oregonians have ever been tested for HIV. About 1,200 Oregonians are infected with HIV and don’t know it. If these people get tested and start HIV treatment medications, we could prevent 150 new infections over 3 years.

Call our clinic in Ontario for comprehensive and confidential testing at 541-889-7279. Have OHP and need a ride? We can set that up for you.

Yes means test

2019 was another record year for STIs (sexually transmitted infections). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rates of reported STIs rose for the sixth straight year, and they continue to rise today. Young people continue to endure a big share of the STI burden. About half of the 20 million cases of STIs each year are in people ages 15-25.

Chlamydia is the STI most commonly reported to CDC—about 1.8 million cases in 2019, a 19% rate increase since 2015. Young women ages 15-24 account for nearly half of these cases. Yet, chlamydia and gonorrhea frequently have no symptoms. Without diagnosis and treatment, they can cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Given the potential health problems, CDC recommends annual testing for sexually active women under 25.

Yes Means Test, a campaign from the American Sexual Health Association, addresses the need for testing. The group aims to reduce the stigma around STI tests. YES Means YES has become a sexual empowerment movement. It’s about the right to make your own choices about sex—and have those choices respected. The Yes Means TEST campaign aligns with that movement, empowering people who say “yes” to sex with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities that choice carries. YES means TEST helps steer the conversation: “Yes” to sex, means “Yes” to getting tested.

Call the Malheur County Health Department to schedule your test. 541-889-7279.

National STI Week – Get Tested Today!

Know the Facts

Sexually Transmitted Infections are on the rise in Malheur County, so it’s more important than ever that you know the facts and get tested.

False assumptions about STIs – how they’re spread, prevented, and treated – are everywhere, and it can be especially hard for people to get the facts. Making sure that you have the correct information about STI prevention and testing has never been more important.

Did you know…?

  • STIs impact young people the hardest. In the U.S., almost half of all new infections in 2018 were among people aged 15-24.
  • If you are sexually active, you can lower your risk of getting an STI several ways, including by using a condom the right way from start to finish.
  • Almost all STIs that can be spread via condomless vaginal sex also can be spread through oral and anal sex without a condom.
  • You can’t tell if someone has an STI just by looking at them. Many STIs don’t cause any symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to get tested.
  • Even if you use birth control, you should still think about STI prevention. Birth control methods like the pill, patch, ring, and IUD are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but they do not protect against STIs and HIV.
  • The most reliable way to avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

You also should know that all STIs, even HIV, are treatable, and most are curable. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can take action to protect your health and the health of your partner(s).

Some STIs can lead to serious health problems if they’re not treated. For example, an untreated STI, like chlamydia, can make it difficult or impossible for a woman to get pregnant. An untreated STI can also increase the chances of transmitting or getting HIV.

  • STI tests are quick, simple, and usually painless. For example, rapid HIV tests can provide results from just a swab inside the mouth in only 20 minutes.
  • Not all medical checkups include STI testing. Unless you ask to be tested, you can’t assume you have been. Ask your healthcare provider which STIs you should be tested for.
  • Talk to your partner about when you were last tested and suggest getting tested together. If you have an STI, tell your partner. These conversations may seem hard to have, but open communication with your partner is essential to staying healthy and stopping the spread of STIs. These conversations may also bring you closer together. Here are some tips to help you start the conversationexternal icon.
  • Confidential, free or low-cost testing is available at the Malheur County Health Department. Call 541-889-7279 today to schedule an appointment.

Content source: Division of STD PreventionNational Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB PreventionCenters for Disease Control and Prevention