Winning Health | Gold Coast Health Plan | Issue 3 | Winter 2023

3 Member Services: 1-888-301-1228/TTY 1-888-310-7347 Get tested for sexually transmitted infections Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pass from person to person through vaginal, oral and anal sex. STIs don’t always cause symptoms or may only cause mild symptoms. That is why getting an STI test is important. All sexually active women under the age of 25 should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia each year. Women over the age of 25 with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STI should also be tested each year. All sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year for: ●Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Those with multiple or anonymous partners should be tested more frequently (e.g., every three to six months). ●Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). ●Hepatitis C if living with HIV. Those who are pregnant should test for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B and C early in pregnancy. Those at risk for infection should also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Anyone who participates in sexual behaviors that could place them at risk for infection or who shares drug injection equipment should get tested for HIV at least once a year. People who have had oral or anal sex should talk with their doctor about throat and rectal testing options. Make sure you have an honest conversation about your sexual history and STI testing with your doctor. Don’t forget your HPV vaccine! The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause several cancers. The HPV vaccine protects against this virus and other cancers. Some parents worry the vaccine will encourage their child to have sex. This is not true. Studies have shown that getting vaccinated doesn’t make kids more likely to start having sex. Next steps Remember to ask about the HPV vaccine at your next doctor’s visit. To learn more about HPV, call the Health Education Department at 1-805-437-5718, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you use a TTY, call 1-888-310-7347. Sources: American Cancer Society; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ON-TIME VACCINE LATE VACCINE LATE VACCINE – EXTRA DOSE Ages 9–12 Ages 13–14 Ages 15–26 Two doses Two doses Three doses 6 to 12 months apart 6 to 12 months apart ❱ First dose at visit one. ❱ Second dose one to two months later. ❱ Third dose six months after the first dose.