The month of April is very significant to me.
On a personal note, my birthday is on April 28th. Although I don’t really care to celebrate the day, I do recognize the significance it holds in that it brings me one year closer to the end of my life. At this point in time I cherish the years I have left to live because of the man I love and the many things I have yet to accomplish.
The Center for Disease Control recognizes April as Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month. I encourage everyone to discuss sexual health with their healthcare provider to ensure the safety of you and your partners. It is imperative that if you are not in a monogamous relationship (and maybe even if you are); you should get checked at least annually for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Women should get annual Pap smear and men who have sex with men should get annual anal Pap smear.
At this point in my career I diagnose at least one person a week with HIV and many more with other STD’s. Please practice safe sex and use condoms correctly.
April is also the National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual violence, including child sexual abuse, crosses all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds. According to research published in the journal Violence and Victims in 2007, in the United States, an estimated 2.7 million women and 978,000 men are victims of sexual violence each year. In recognition of the widespread prevalence of sexual assault in this country, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has designated the month of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Although the amount of sexual violence is alarming, there is hope for survivors. As Esther Deblinger, PhD, co-director of the CARES Institute, an expert in the field of child sexual abuse, and an NCTSN member, says, “There is increasing evidence that, with support from a caring adult and high-quality treatment, many children and parents effectively recover and may feel stronger and closer as a family in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.”
The NCTSN is proud to observe National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and offers the resources to help educate parents, professionals, policy makers, and communities about the profound impact that sexual violence has on men, women, and children.
If you or someone you know is being abused sexually or was sexually abused as a child, please notify the authorities and get help.
It is not your fault.