What’s Going Around: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A local physician says she sees an uptick in sexually transmitted diseases near spring break.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 7:30 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - College students look forward to it all year long, spring break. It’s a time to blow off steam and the pressures of studying but sometimes risky behavior can be involved.

“This time of year, I see an uptick in sexually transmitted diseases from my college students,” said Cindy Griessel, a physician assistant at Mercy.

While Griessel said abstinence is the only way to completely prevent STDs and unplanned pregnancies, she said young adults need to know what to watch for if they’ve engaged in sexual activity.

“So the biggest thing is that there is both what I consider symptomatic sexually transmitted diseases, and then those that don’t necessarily appear right away that can obviously cause us risk later on,” said Griessel. “Some people will have symptoms, such as a potential discharge, maybe some pain, just an overall general malaise of not feeling well.”

Griessel said getting tested is something that shouldn’t wait.

“First of all, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” said Griessel. “Most providers will test you for some of the more common STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, but I also feel that it’s important that we test for HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis because those are things that don’t present right away with symptoms.”

Griessel said untreated STDs can have lifelong consequences.

“Untreated STDs can result in infertility and although, in the younger age we may not be thinking about the future and wanting to have a family, but if we engage in those behaviors then that limits our opportunities later on,” said Griessel.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department offers sexually transmitted infection testing for most diseases. They have walk-in clinics available two days and week or you can make an appointment here. They have also partnered with Magers Health and Wellness to offer students at Missouri State University STD tests.

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