Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States costing the American Healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone, says a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). America’s youth shoulder a substantial burden of these infections. CDC estimates that half of all STDs in the country occur among young women and men aged 15 to 24. €When you compare Lycoming’s Chlamydia rates among 15-24 yr. olds, it is almost double the average for the northcentral health district - 20.94/1000 vs. 11.60/1000. (The northcentral health district is comprised of Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, and Union Counties). The Gonorrhea rate is nine times greater – 4.66/1000 vs. 0.5/1000 – than the northcentral region’s average. Despite this news, there are effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat STDs. STD screening and early diagnoses are essential in preventing transmission and the long-term consequences of STDs. Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. Safe effective vaccines are also available to prevent Hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active- particularly young people- STD screening and prompt treatment (if infected) are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others. The River Valley Health and Dental Center offers the following STD testing services – STD Clinic – free and confidential STD services are provided by Reproductive Health through collaboration with the PA Department of Health. Services include: Physical examinations Testing, treatment and counseling for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis and vaginitis HIV testing, counseling and referrals Treatment for herpes and condyloma Free condoms STD clinic hours are Wednesdays 5pm -8pm and Thursdays 1pm -4pm. Appointments are required and can be made by calling River Valley Health & Dental at 570-567-5400. Teen Health Resource Center- free and confidential STD services are provided to teens ages 13 – 19. Services include: Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Sexual Health Counseling and Education Referrals to Family Planning, Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Adolescent Relationship Abuse Services Free Condoms Walk-ins are welcome although appointments are preferred. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 1pm – 4:30pm and Wednesdays 2pm – 5:30pm. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 570-567-5400, ext. 417. The high incidence of STDs in the general population suggests that many Americans are at risk of exposure to STDs, underscoring the need for prevention. The Health Educators at River Valley Health & Dental Center are available to provide STD Awareness presentations to schools and community groups at no cost. More information about Sexually Transmitted Diseases is available at www.cdc.gov/std.