By Ashley Burroughs SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Onondaga County has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the state of New York. This county is specifically susceptible for these rates because of the high populations of poverty and college students.
These numbers have doubled because people who are infected don’t know about their status and haven’t been properly treated for it. The most common types of STD’s in Onondaga County are:
All of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics but if they go untreated it can lead to serious health concerns like infertility and increase risk for HIV transmission.
ACR Health, a non-profit organization, provides testing services and educational programs to help spread awareness about the effects of STD’s in the community.
“I don’t want to give out another positive result to anyone. I really don’t and so the more I can educate, the more I can give you the tools, then the less I have to deliver that message of being a testing counselor,” ACR Prevention Coordinator K. Daniel Reed said.
ACR Health stresses the importance of practicing safe sex and getting tested at least once a year to prevent the spread of STD’s. This non-profit has volunteers drive to high risk areas to give out condoms, free testing kits, and educational pamphlets. These volunteers do this every day with the exception of Tuesday, providing people who don’t have access or the funds to get regular check ups.
ACR’s outreach programs consist of people who are from the demographic of high risk areas but have overcome their situation and want to provide guidance for those who are facing the same issues everyday.
One outreach member, Traci Adams says, “I believe in my heart of hearts that I can help this community and I know that whenever I leave this Earth someone is going to remember me for doing something that helped somebody.”
All volunteers are trained by professionals in the field to provide support and care when going out into the community.
ACR Health, located at 627 West Genesee St. Syracuse, N.Y., has a wide range of services such as counseling, assistance with health services, and support groups. They also have a 24-hours a day hotline for anyone who needs help or information at (888)-475-2437.