As you may know already, April was STI/STD Awareness Month. In honor of the occasion, I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Cherrell Triplett, an incredible and inspiring OB/GYN who practices in the Midwest. She especially enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, but provides care for women at every age and stage of life.
Triplett entered the medical profession after becoming a civil engineer and working as a business consultant. She made the change to medicine because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of individuals.
She hoped for opportunities to connect with patients and found reproductive/sexual health to be a field in which she could truly build relationships, caring for folks over a longer span of time and witnessing some of their most memorable life cycle events.
After speaking with her for only a short while, I understood why young women must feel comfortable sharing their lives, disclosing sensitive information and receiving advice from her. She was warm and approachable, while still offering evidence and addressing tough topics with a matter-of-fact tone.
I asked her what important tidbits our readers should know about the subject of sexually transmitted infections . There were several main points she touched on:
1) If you are sexually active, you ARE at risk for getting STIs.
No one who is sexually active is immune to the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. Wearing condoms (insertive or external) and practicing other safe sex precautions (like knowing the status of each of your sexual partners) dramatically lower your chance of becoming infected, but does not protect you 100 percent.
There has been an upward trend in cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in recent years, especially among young people.
Triplett says that she sees many young women with chlamydia — so many that she joked she would like to put zithromaycin (an antibiotic used to treat chlamydia) in the water!
Recently she has been diagnosing fewer cases of gonorrhea, but is seeing many more people with herpes and HPV — a far less treatable and sometimes chronic virus.