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Written by: Chamari’ Walker
Public Health Initiatives Manager
She / Her / Hers

April is Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Awareness Month, a reminder of our collective responsibility to prioritize sexual health. It’s important to bring awareness to STIs for several reasons, like reducing stigmas surrounding STIs and improving health outcomes.

This month offers a pivotal moment to shatter the stigma surrounding STIs and pave the way for a future where everyone can access the care and support they deserve. Young people, men having sex with men, pregnant women, and certain racial and ethnic minority communities are disproportionately impacted by STIs, which increases their risk of getting HIV.  

For many, including myself as a proud black woman, this awareness month holds profound personal meaning. My community bears a disproportionate burden of STIs and HIV, underscoring the urgency to break stigmas and increase access to health services. Drawing from my own experiences as a former HIV case manager, I’ve witnessed firsthand the gaps in access to education and resources. But it’s these very experiences that ignite my passion and drive my dedication to sexual health advocacy.

STIs don’t discriminate—they can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. STIs are spread through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Anyone sexually active is at risk of contracting an STI. Sexually transmitted infections are very common, and most infections do not produce noticeable symptoms. Yes – someone can have an STI and be unaware due to being asymptomatic or experiencing no symptoms.

Open communication, regular testing, and informed decision-making are paramount in safeguarding our sexual health. Discuss testing with your partner early in the relationship and the best method of protection for you, whether that’s internal/female condoms, external/male condoms, or dental dams.

Visit our Get Tested, Tulsa tab for more information about how STIs spread, where to get free condoms, how and where to get tested, transportation services to appointments, and more. And don’t forget to join us on April 23rd for our End the STIgma Block Party at Youth Services of Tulsa!

Let’s start the conversation. Let’s break down barriers. Let’s empower each other to take control of our health and futures. Together, we can end the stigma, expand access to care, and build a healthier community.

Chamari’ Walker

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