STDs Are on The Rise – How We Can Help
According to a new statement from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), STDs are on the rise and some are becoming drug resistant. This can be a scary situation for people who are sexually active, but one that pharmacists can certainly assist with. If you have noticed a rise in prescriptions for sexually transmitted diseases, or just want to be ahead of the curve, here are a few suggestions on how you can help.
Host Information Tables
Consider contacting your local health department to see if anyone is available to come out and sit at a table that provides information on STDs. This can include educational pamphlets people can take with them, a health official that can speak directly with folks, and even offer free prophylactics. Making protection and education available as much as possible can help save people the frustration and embarrassment that comes with contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Listen to Your Patients
No matter how common an STD is, many people are embarrassed to ask about safe practices. There is still a strong stigma in society associated with diseases that result in shaming folks for their sexual practices. Creating a safe environment for your patients to be able to talk to you about those issues is key to helping them avoid contracting any disease in the long run. It is important to openly discuss how men and women who do contract STDs, don’t have an unruly number of partners. It takes just one time with someone who doesn’t know they have it or is not a very honest person to begin with. Make it clear that this isn’t about their sexual practice but about protecting their bodies and maintaining good sexual health. It doesn’t hurt to let your clientele know that you are available to discuss issues discreetly so that they can approach it on their own comfort level.
Promote Free Testing
Pay close attention to who offers free, or sliding scale, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and advertise them as much as possible. This can be a very powerful tool to reach people who are suspicious but are too embarrassed to ask. Promotion should include location, phone numbers, and even business cards that folks can take with them so they don’t forget. Update the promotions as much as you can. If more than one place is offering this sort of testing, promote as many as your space allows.
Encourage Abstinence During Treatment
During treatment, it helps for the affected to remain abstinent. Have discreet discussions with your patients that are receiving treatment about waiting until they are completely done with treatment. Remind them that it isn’t to avoid intimacy but rather to allow their bodies to heal. Rest during healing is a vital tool that can speed the process up. A reminder that if they continue it can drag out their need for treatment may be the thing they need to hear to avoid more costly prescriptions.
Sexually transmitted diseases are not going to go away anytime soon and patients need all of the education and support that they can find. Adding those key elements to your regime is just one more way pharmacists can help heal your community!