Look Out for Lyme Disease Awareness Month

May is here and June is fast approaching, and we’re getting outside to enjoy the spring weather. But as we get outdoors, the risk of encountering ticks increases and with increased tick exposure, the risk of Lyme disease increases.

Lyme disease is a serious disease in Virginia and is prevalent in suburban regions of the northern and western parts of Virginia. This includes higher mountainous areas of the state and areas along the coast where temperatures are mild. It is spread by the bite of the blacklegged tick (aka deer tick), which is common in these parts of Virginia.

To draw the public’s attention to the disease, May is designated as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Ticks thrive in suburban forests where there are domestic and wild animals. Deer are the most important animal contributing to tick reproduction as adult male and female ticks meet and mate on the deer. Deer also serve as the last meal for female ticks and the blood they consume is necessary for egg production. Leaf packs and yard debris make excellent wildlife habitats, and pressure from hunting and predators is minimal.

Blacklegged ticks can be found primarily in:

  • Forests
  • Along the forest edge
  • Shaded grassy areas
  • Tall brush

Lyme disease cannot be transferred from one animal to another; the only way an animal can get the disease is from a tick bite. Blacklegged nymphs, which are about the size of a poppy seed, are the life stage most likely to bite people and transmit this disease. The potential for infection exists year-round but is most common in the spring and summer months when the climate is warm and humid. The earliest sign of possible infection is a “bulls-eye” rash around the site of the tick bite. Other early symptoms include a constant headache, a fever, joint or muscle pain, and fatigue.

If it’s left untreated, Lyme disease can cause the following symptoms:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Pain in the tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Rashes on other areas of the body
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees and other large joints
  • Facial palsy with the facial muscles drooping on one side
  • Nerve pain and shooting paints, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and/or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord

If you’ve been outside, hiking or camping, it’s important to check yourself for ticks and remove any you find immediately. If you find a tick and are unsure how long it has been on your body, preserve the tick in rubbing alcohol. If you notice any of the early symptoms of infection, consult with your healthcare provide as soon as possible. If you have symptoms, it’s possible with early treatment to avoid any long-term affects of Lyme disease. The Virginia Department of Health offers tick identification through the Virginia Tick Survey.

Learn more about ticks and the diseases they’re associated with, check out the VDH tick resource page.

2024 Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

May 20-26, 2024, marks the 20th Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Let’s dive into swim safety and learn important tips to stay safe while having fun in the water. 

Understanding the Risks: 

Drowning can happen quickly and quietly. Even if someone looks like they’re okay, they might be in trouble. It’s important to know what to look for and how to help. 

  • Usually, drowning people are unable to call out for help since their body is focused on breathing. 
  • Drowning people’s mouths typically bob above and below the surface of the water.  
  • Individuals who are drowning are not usually able to wave for help. The instinctive drowning response forces them to use their arms to push down on the surface of the water to keep their head above water. 
  • Because their arms are used in the Instinctive Drowning Response, they also cannot grab onto a rescuer or rescue equipment.  
  • During the Instinctive Drowning Response, the drowning person’s body remains upright in a vertical position, and they do not kick their legs.  
  • People can only struggle this way for 20 to 60 seconds before they go under water for good.  

Adult Supervision: 

When children are near water, supervision and safety is critical to prevent drowning. Children do not always struggle in the water. They can drown without making a sound. 

Swimming Lessons and Skills: 

Basic skills include:  

  • Entering the water 
  • Surfacing 
  • Turning around 
  • Propelling oneself for at least 25 yards 
  • Floating on or treading water
  • Exiting the water 

High quality swimming lessons will include additional potentially life-saving skills such as self-rescue, swimming in clothes and life jackets, and falling into the water. While they can contribute to water safety, swimming lessons do not erase the risks of swimming. Conditions such as water temperature, air temperature, weather, water depth, water movement and situational and individual factors can affect an individual’s swimming ability. Parents and caregivers should work with swimming instructors to monitor their child’s progress in the water.  

Safety Gear: 

Wearing a life jacket is like having a superhero cape in the water! It keeps everyone safe, even the not-so-great swimmers. 

Remember that floaties are not safety devices and can often provide a false sense of safety to guardians and swimmers. When these toys are in use, the caregiver must still provide active supervision.  

Water Barriers: 

It’s important to have barriers and safety controls around water to keep everyone safe. Putting up fences and alarms around pools is like building a castle to protect from danger. 

Emergency Preparedness and CPR: 

Learning CPR and what to do in an emergency is like having a superpower to save lives. Let’s make sure we know what to do if someone needs help in the water. 

If drowning has occurred and the victim is not breathing, bystander-initiated CPR is the most effective way to promote a positive outcome. CPR consists of rescue breathing, chest compressions and use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). An AED is a machine used during a heart attack to restart the heart. 

Community and Water Education: 

We can all be water safety superheroes by helping others stay safe. The more we know, the safer we’ll be! Remember to never swim alone, stay away from deep or unknown water and spread the word. 

During the 20th Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, make every splash a safe one! By learning about drowning prevention and being water safety superheroes, we can ensure everyone stays safe and has fun near water! Visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com for more resources.

Hepatitis Awareness Month 2024

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States (U.S.). May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day. During this month we work extra hard to shed light on the impact that viral hepatitis has on the public. By raising awareness around hepatitis, we can also encourage testing, vaccination, and treatment.

Hepatitis Key Facts

There are different viruses that can cause hepatitis. The most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C.

  • Chronic hepatitis B and C are leading causes of liver cancer in the U.S.
  • Both hepatitis A and B are preventable with safe and effective vaccines.
  • Hepatitis C is curable with prescribed treatment.
  • Certain groups of people may be at increased risk for hepatitis A and B and may benefit from discussing vaccination options with their healthcare provider.
  • About 66% of people with hepatitis B are unaware of their infection.  About 40% of people living with hepatitis C do not know they are infected.
  • Many adults with hepatitis A may be unaware of their infection as they may not show symptoms.  Children with hepatitis A under the age of 6 often have no symptoms.
    • Those with hepatitis A can still transmit the virus even if they are not showing symptoms.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about testing for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Testing and screening during pregnancy is important for you and your baby’s health.
  • Getting tested is the only way to know if you have hepatitis B or C.
  • Specific laboratory testing must be performed to identify hepatitis A.
    • If you are concerned about hepatitis A, please speak with a healthcare provider.

Get Involved

  • Share the ABCs of Viral Hepatitis. Help others learn about the three most common types of viral hepatitis in the U.S.
  • If you are a provider and offer hepatitis testing read about how to register your services through our online registry.
  • Visit our website to learn more about viral hepatitis.
  • Find provider-specific information and resources to share online.

Get the Word Out

Follow the Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline on Facebook. Share our posts around Hepatitis Awareness Month and National Hepatitis Testing Day. Those posts will have the following hashtags: #HepAware2024, #HepatitisAwarenessMonth, #NationalHepatitisTestingDay and #Hepatitis.

Find other info on our Facebook as well. This includes mpox and syphilis info, both of which we are seeing increased cases of in Virginia.

Got Questions?

If you or a loved one has questions about viral hepatitis, call the Disease Prevention Hotline. Reach us toll-free at (800) 533-4148. You can reach a hotline counselor any weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hotline is closed for Virginia holidays.

Preventing Injuries, Can Prevent Trauma

May is National Trauma Awareness Month. Trauma is often the result of a stressful situation or event. It can impact people physically, emotionally, and mentally. Injuries are one common cause of trauma, including firearm injuries, which are a public health issue. They can cause trauma, not only to the person who experiences the injury, but to their family, friends, and community.
Every day in Virginia, there are seven emergency department visits for firearm injuries. Firearm injuries can happen intentionally by a person hurting others or themselves. They can also happen unintentionally, like if a firearm is discharged while a person is cleaning it. Firearm injuries may lead to long-term physical or mental health challenges, disability, or death. Firearm injuries can also lead to high healthcare costs and long hospital stays. In 2022, Virginians injured by firearms spent a combined total of 7,021 days in the hospital, at a cost of more than $136 million dollars. Avoiding trauma is not always possible. But when it is, it begins with awareness, knowledge, and injury prevention. The Virginia Department of Health provides information about how to secure firearms to prevent unintentional discharge.
Firearm injuries are preventable. For a list of additional injury prevention resources, including firearm injury prevention printable items, visit the Virginia Department of Health Injury and Violence Prevention Resources web page. To learn more data on firearm injury in Virginia, visit the Firearm Injury in Virginia web page.

Recognizing a Stroke this Stroke Awareness Month

May is recognized as Stroke Awareness Month. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is blocked or a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In Virginia, every year more than 22,000 Virginians have a stroke. TIA, or transient ischemic attack, is a warning sign of a stroke where symptoms occur and quickly resolve. A person having a stroke or TIA needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible to receive life-saving treatment.

Warnings of sudden blood clot in head. Labeled list with reasons for health attention and ASAP ambulance. BE FAST scheme with isolated danger illness risk signs.

The most common signs of a stroke are:

  • problems with balance
  • eye or vision changes
  • facial droop
  • arm weakness
  • slurred speech

Stroke recognition materials are available to the public through the Stroke Smart Virginia webpage, which offers training videos and educational magnets for free. Stroke Smart Virginia is a partner with the VDH through the Paul Coverdell Stroke Program.

In 2023, the Fredericksburg YMCA began educating directors and managers on stroke recognition in collaboration with Mary Washington Hospital and VDH to provide stroke education at all four of its facilities. A concentrated effort was made in late 2023 to educate over 600 employees on stroke recognition and to call 911.

This education paid off when a trainer at the Rappahannock YMCA was working with a gym member and noticed that the man suddenly became weak on one side and was slurring his speech. Because the employee had received the VDH stroke education, he knew exactly what to do and called 911. Thanks to his quick actions, this gym member received immediate care at the hospital and had a successful recovery with no deficits.

You, too, can learn to spot a stroke and save a life.

Learn the signs and symptoms of stroke with Stroke Smart Virginia.

National Fentanyl Awareness Day 2024

Tomorrow, May 7th, 2024, is National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Fentanyl is an incredibly potent synthetic opioid. It poses grave danger to our youth. It’s crucial to understand its strength and the risks it carries. Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Even a tiny amount can be lethal. 

There are two forms of fentanyl: medical-grade and illicit. Medical-grade fentanyl is manufactured and prescribed legally. For example, it can be used to treat severe pain, like that associated with cancer. Illicit (aka forbidden) fentanyl is widely available due to its low cost, unregulated manufacturing and high potency. Fentanyl is often used as an additive to other drugs. This means that a person who thinks they are taking heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine could actually be exposed to fentanyl. Fentanyl can also be found in counterfeit prescription drugs. This illicit form has led to a tripling of overdose deaths among teenagers in recent years. 

This crisis demands action, and education is key! Parents should talk to their kids about the dangers of fentanyl, and the risks of exposure. We must avoid stigmatizing drug use and instead focus on the severe risks associated with illicitly manufactured fentanyl. 

Preparation is vital to save lives.  

Understanding Virginia’s Good Samaritan law can encourage action in emergencies. This law protects the person who tries to help someone suspected of overdosing (under certain circumstances). If you see someone overdosing, call 911 immediately. If you or someone you know has a drug abuse problem, call 988. This crisis hotline provides for free and confidential support. 

Learn about support and services related to drug overdoses at: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/overdose-prevention/

Here are some Fentanyl awareness events you can attend:

Virtual

📅 Ongoing REVIVE! Trainings from Richmond and Henrico Health Districts
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts offer virtual REVIVE each week via Zoom. REVIVE! is Virginia’s statewide opioid overdose and naloxone education program, which covers recognizing signs of an opioid overdose and how to respond using naloxone.

Weekly Virtual Training

  • Tuesdays, 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Thursdays, 1:00-2:00 pm

Virtual training participants can arrange for free, contactless naloxone dispensing in the Metro Richmond Area. Go to the REVIVE! Registration. (You will not receive a confirmation email; meeting link is below.)

To join: Go to the meeting at zoomgov.com/my/rhhdnaloxone 

In-Person

📅 When: May 6, 11am-2pm
📌 Where: Samuels Public Library – 330 E Criser Rd., Front Royal, VA
✍️ What: Naloxone training, fentanyl test strips, and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Katherine Schroeder, Katherine.schroeder@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-486-6627

📅 When: May 6, 11am-2pm
📌 WhereHandley Regional Library – 100 W. Picadilly St., Winchester, VA
✍️ WhatNaloxone training, fentanyl test strips, and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Katherine Schroeder, Katherine.schroeder@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-486-6627

📅 When: May 6, 11am-2pm
📌 WhereBlue Ridge Hospice Thrift Store – 115 W. Main St., Berryville, VA
✍️ WhatNaloxone training, fentanyl test strips, and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Katherine Schroeder, Katherine.schroeder@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-486-6627

📅 When: May 7
📌 Where: Government Center – 12000 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA
✍️ What: Hosting a Rapid REVIVE! Table event at the Board of Supervisors meeting scheduled on 05/07 at the Government Center. Also holding an REVIVE! Training event specifically for Fentanyl Awareness Day sponsored by the Fairfax Prevention Coalition.
📞 Contact: Raymond Paden, Fairfax CSB and community coalition

📅 When: May 7
📌 WhereHampton Newport News CSB
✍️ WhatPeers and Prevention Services are collaborating with a REVIVE! Training on the CSB campus. Open to the community.
📞 Contact: Hampton Newport News CSB, 757-788-0300

📅 When: May 7, 10am-2pm
📌 Where: Staunton Public Library – 1 Churchville Ave, Staunton, VA
✍️ WhatVCSB will be partnering with the Central Shenandoah Health District and the Staunton Public Library to host a walk-up/drive-up Rapid REVIVE! training event.
📞 Contact: Valley CSB, 540-887-3200

📅 When: May 7
📌 Where: Chesapeake Bay CSB
✍️ What: REVIVE! Training
📞 Contact: Chesapeake CSB, (757) 547-9334

📅 When: May 7, 11am-1pm
📌 WhereFour Truths Recovery House – 1102 Staunton Ave NW, Roanoke, VA
✍️ What: Open house of new men’s recovery housing
📞 Contact: Christine Wright, christine@bradleyfreeclinic.com

📅 When: May 7, 11am-3pm
📌 WhereFriends of the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville/Prince Edward Community Library – 1303 W 3rd St, Farmville, VA
✍️ What: REVIVE! Training, information and resource sharing
📞 Contact: None provided

📅 When: May 7, 12pm-2pm
📌 WhereLucks Field – 143 N. 20th St, Richmond, VA
✍️ WhatBy attending, residents learn more about the deadly consequences of fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin. Also, residents will learn how to identify and respond to an opioid overdose; administer Narcan, a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose when given on time; and connect with resources to support individuals and families. Following the Health Fair, community leaders will participate in a Community Clean-Up near Lucks Field from 2 PM – 3 PM.
📞 Contact: Tamara Jones, tamara.jones@vdh.virginia.gov, 804-774-9776

📅 When: May 7, 6:30-7:30pm
📌 WhereMidlothian Library – 100 Millworks Crossing, Midlothian, VA
✍️ WhatREVIVE! Training
📞 Contact: (804) 768-7907

📅 When: May 8, 10am
📌 WhereFairfax County Health Dept, 10777 Main St, Fairfax, VA
✍️ WhatREVIVE training for Fairfax County Health Dept employees
📞 Contact: Amanda Price, amanda.price@fairfaxcounty.gov, 571-235-9286

📅 When: May 8, 5pm-7pm
📌 WhereGoochland Public Schools Wellness Night – 3250-A River Road West, Goochland, VA
✍️ WhatThe Chickahominy Health District will be tabling during Goochland County Public School’s Wellness Night event and will offer rapid REVIVE! and naloxone (as well as other information about health district services/resources)
📞 Contact: (804) 556-5630

📅 When: May 9, 11am-2pm
📌 WhereCVS – 221 W Reservoir Rd., Woodstock, VA
✍️ What: Naloxone training, fentanyl test strips, and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Katherine Schroeder, Katherine.schroeder@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-486-6627

📅 When: May 9, 11am-2pm
📌 Where: CVS – 1404 W 211 Bypass, Luray, VA
✍️ What: Naloxone training, fentanyl test strips, and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Katherine Schroeder, Katherine.schroeder@vdh.virginia.gov, 540-486-6627

📅 When: May 9, 11am-3pm
📌 WhereSouthwest Virginia Legal Aid Society – 851 French Moore Jr. Blvd., Abingdon, VA
✍️ What: Naloxone training and sharing recovery resources
📞 Contact: Donna Surber, donna.surber@vdh.virginia.gov

📅 When: May 9, 12pm-2pm
📌 Where: Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell Health Departments
✍️ What: Rapid REVIVE! Training. Walk-ins welcome!
📞 Contact: Kimberlee Foster, kimberlee.foster@vdh.virginia.gov, 434-477-5976

📅 When: May 9, 1pm
📌 WhereEva Walker Park – Alexandria Pike & North Street, Warrenton, VA
✍️ WhatSupporting a rally with Northern Virginia Moms Fighting Fentanyl Poisoning. First Lady Youngkin will be attending this event.
📞 Contact: Alan Rassmussen, Encompass; Marg Perkins is the coordinator of this event.

📅 When: May 11, 11am-1pm
📌 WhereGoochland Cares – 2999 River Rd W, Goochland, VA
✍️ What: Goochland Cares is having a shoe donation event – the health dept. will offer Rapid REVIVE! outside the front of Goochland Cares, weather permitting. Expected attendance is 230 people, but will be arriving in pre-assigned waves/groups.
📞 Contact: Goochland Cares (Heather Buzzard, hbuzzard@GoochlandCares.org); Chickahominy Health District (Marissa Gernon, marissa.gernon@vdh.virginia.gov and 804-801-6775)

📅 When: May 21, 10am
📌 Where: Fairfax County Health Dept, 10777 Main St, Fairfax, VA
✍️ What: REVIVE training for Fairfax County Health Dept employees
📞 Contact: Amanda Price, amanda.price@fairfaxcounty.gov, 571-235-9286

Observing Mental Health Awareness Month: Why it Matters

Mental Health Awareness Month provides an opportunity to shed light on the importance of mental wellbeing and self-care. It aims to promote health equity by raising awareness, breaking stigma and fostering an inclusive environment for open discussions about mental health challenges. 

This month, we explore coping strategies, self-care and ways to create a society that embraces and supports mental health needs. By prioritizing mental health, we can empower individuals to live fulfilling lives. 

Coping Strategies and Self-Care 

Prioritizing Self-Care for Mental Well-being is crucial for maintaining good mental health: 

  1. Nurture Social Connections: Spending quality time with loved ones can provide a sense of belonging and support. 
  1. Engage in Relaxation Techniques: Explore relaxation practices like deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga. 
  1. Pursue Enjoyable Hobbies: Engaging in hobbies you find fulfilling and enjoyable can boost your mood and provide a sense of accomplishment. 

Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms can help manage stress and difficult emotions: 

  1. Practice Mindfulness: Being in the moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgement can help you cope with challenges more effectively. 
  1. Seek Professional Support: Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you’re struggling with persistent or overwhelming emotions. They can provide valuable guidance and support. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 988, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. 
  1. Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle: Prioritize regular exercise, a nutritious diet and plenty of sleep. 

Remember, taking care of your mental health is an ongoing process. Finding the right coping strategies and self-care practices may require some experimentation. Be patient and kind to yourself as you explore what works best for you. 

Destigmatizing Mental Health 

Stigma surrounding mental health persists as a significant barrier, preventing many individuals from seeking the support they need. During Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s crucial to address this issue head-on and create an environment where open and honest conversations about mental wellbeing are encouraged and embraced. 

  1. Challenge Misconceptions: Dispel myths and misinformation about mental health conditions through education or chatting with your community. Emphasize that mental health challenges are common, treatable and should be approached with the same compassion and understanding as physical health concerns. 
  1. Use Inclusive Language: Encourage the use of person-centered language that focuses on the individual rather than their condition. For example, instead of saying “a schizophrenic person,” say “a person living with schizophrenia.” 

By breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, we can empower individuals to seek the support they need, promote overall well-being and be part of a state that embraces and supports mental health needs. 

National Minority Month 2024

April is National Minority Health Month. The observance is designed to raise awareness about the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minority communities and reducing health disparities. Health disparities show up as higher disease rates, injury or violence that are experienced by certain populations.  Data show these differences can occur based on:

  • race and ethnicity
  • income
  • geographic location
  • environment

“They come in the form of day-to-day things that impact quality of life, such as good schools, access to fresh fruits and veggies, green space or other vibrant places to gather, and quality, affordable housing,” said Sandra Serna, director of the Office of Health Equity.

The Office of Health Equity (OHE) at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) works to address the root causes of health disparities by developing programs, tools and resources to address the problem. For example, OHE allocated funding to assist with an initiative to make financial assistance applications easier to read and complete for Latino families who have struggled with receiving assistance.
The Virginia Partners in Prayer and Prevention Program, which operates out of the OHE, awarded Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center with Centers for Disease and Prevention grant funding to provide financial assistance for the Latino community. For more information on programs and services available, visit https://latinosenvirginia.org/en.

Since June 2021, OHE has administered Virginia’s $27.3M Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Health Disparities grant. The grant, which specifically focuses on racial and ethnic minority and rural populations, gives recipients the flexibility to address the many health disparities made worse by the pandemic. As result, OHE has been able to fund and support innovative work across the state. One example is OHE’s partnership with four historically black colleges and universities. The funding provides support for a variety programs, events and services that educate participants about chronic diseases that impact African Americans, putting them at further risk for COVID-19 health complications.

National STI Awareness Week 2024

STI Awareness Week is observed the second full week in April each year. STI is another term for sexually transmitted infection. This week provides the chance to raise awareness about STIs and how they can impact our lives. It allows us to reduce STI-related stigma and fear. We want people to know about STI prevention, testing, and treatment.

This year, STI Awareness Week comes at a critical time. There have been continued increases in STIs across the United States. These increases have also been occurring here in Virginia. We have seen dramatic increases in syphilis in adults and newborn babies. Virginia has seen the following increases in cases since 2018:

  • 13% increase in gonorrhea
  • 32% increase in syphilis among adults
  • 82% increase in syphilis cases among newborn babies

 

In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that 20 percent of the U.S. population had an STI on any given day. That is 1 in 5 people! This totaled almost 68 million infections in 2018.

CDC also estimated that STIs acquired that year cost the American health care system nearly $16 billion in health care costs alone. Given the case increase since 2018, imagine the cost to the American health care system today!

Many STIs have no symptoms. The only way to be sure of your status is to get tested. Talk to your healthcare provider about testing if you are sexually active or have not been tested since the last time you were sexually active. You can find free or low-cost STI testing at your local health department or another testing site near you: https://bit.ly/2OE8EaC. If you have an STI that is left untreated, it can lead to issues such as:

  • increased risk of getting or spreading HIV
  • long-term pelvic and abdominal pain
  • inability to get pregnant
  • pregnancy complications
  • Many other issues, especially with syphilis and HIV

Learn more about STIs and how they spread on our website: https://bit.ly/2Vaj16J. We have the tools to treat and stop the spread of STIs. Let’s use them!

If you have questions about STIs or need help finding STI services, call our toll-free hotline today at (800) 533-4148. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The hotline is closed on Virginia state holidays.

Building Connected Communities in Observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

It’s a topic that many times goes unheard—sexual assault. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and organizers are working to bring attention to what’s considered a public health issue. This year’s theme, Building Connected Communities, is designed to encourage people to work together to support healthy, safe, respectful behaviors and environment. The idea is to motivate people to work together, support those who have been sexually assaulted and be aware of ways to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community where individuals live and work.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sexual assault is usually someone that the survivor knows, such as a friend, neighbor, or family member. Other statistics show that it’s common, with more than half of women and nearly 1 and 3 men reporting that they have been involved in some form of sexual assault.

Sexual assault has long term consequences that can lead to chronic illnesses, suicidal or depressive thoughts, and substance abuse. It’s impact not only hurts the survivor but the community.

The Virginia Department of Health has a list of resources and programs available to help survivors and individuals who want more information about sexual violence and sexual assault.