No April Foolin', today marks the start of STD Awareness Month.
While tomfoolery generally gets all the attention today, the first of April, there are other observances to be aware of this month. April serves as Sports Eye Safety Month, National Welding Month and, a least favorite for ranidaphobes like myself, National Frog Month.
Perhaps most importantly, with the CDC recently reporting that one in four teenage girls has at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD), April is the time of year for (STD) awareness. Out of the nearly 850 girls aged 14-19 who participated in the CDC's study, 18% tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer.
While many parents hesitate to have their young daughters vaccinated, Gardasil, which protects against certain forms of HPV and therefore certain forms of cervical cancer, is available for females from ages 9 to 26 (the cut-off age used by most insurance companies based on the idea that most women older than 26 are no longer virgins).
According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, 19 million new cases of STDs are diagnosed each year (some treatable, some not), so, if you haven't already, get thee to a doctor or testing center.