The City of Racine Health Department is introducing “Take Control: Your Body, Your Health”, a public awareness campaign aimed to reduce the burden of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the Racine community.
Racine County ranks fifth highest in Wisconsin for Chlamydia and fourth highest for gonorrhea, just behind Milwaukee, Dane, Brown and Kenosha Counties. The initiative hopes to increase City of Racine Health Department STD clinic use by 10%.
Within the City of Racine, approximately one out of every 100 residents was affected by an STD during 2014. Rates of STDs in the City are consistently high in the young adult age group, 21 to 29 year olds. The negative effects of STDs are many, including a greater chance of complications during and after pregnancy, an increased risk of acquiring the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and a higher likelihood of developing other health problems such as cervical cancer and infertility.
Although the acquisition of STDs is easily preventable through the proper use of condoms, it is difficult to reach all parts of the population to ensure individuals have the proper education and tools available to them. Therefore this campaign incorporates many venues and partnerships to connect with individuals who may need the services of the City of Racine Health Department. The “Take Control” campaign will be visible through:
• Advertising inside and outside of the City Buses
• Movie Theater Advertising
• Bowls of FREE condoms at local barbershops
• Condom dispensers installed in the bathrooms of two local bars.
• Information on the City of Racine website
“It is imperative for all residents to make their health a top priority,” said City of Racine Mayor John Dickert. “This campaign emphasizes the personal responsibility we all have to preserve the wellbeing of our community.”
“Take Control” empowers individuals to assume responsibility to prevent and stop the spread of STDs by using condoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to achieve maximum protective effect, condoms must be used consistently and correctly. Using a condom every time is important because often people with an STD have no obvious symptoms and they may unknowingly spread the disease on to another.
A local bar, Pepi’s Pub and Grill, has partnered with the City of Racine Health Department to have condom dispensers installed in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms of the establishment. “We are pleased to be part of this campaign to give our customers the opportunity to make healthy choices,” said Joe Madison, owner of Pepi’s Pub and Grill on Sixth Street in Racine. “Providing a convenient way to obtain a condom is an easy way for us to support the health of our community.” The condom dispensers will be installed and available for use in August. More establishments are being sought to participate in the campaign which includes free condom dispensers.
In addition, the City of Racine Health Department has partnered with PREP (Personal Responsibility Education Program) to distribute bowls of FREE condoms to barbershops and other business and agencies in Racine.
The City of Racine Health Department STD Clinic offers testing and treatment for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. The STD Clinic is open Mondays from 2pm to 5:30pm and Wednesdays from 10am to 12:30pm. The STD Clinic is located at City Hall, 730 Washington Avenue on the lower level in Room 4. Appointments can be made by calling 262-636-9431 and walk-in clients are also welcome.
“Stopping the spread of STDs is our number one priority,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator at the City of Racine Health Department. “Getting people tested and treated before passing a disease on to a partner is a proven approach to reducing the burden of STDs and keeping our community healthy.”