Wednesday, January 24, 2007

S-T-D Overload!

As I have mentioned before, I work in HIV/STD/Hepatitis Services for the St. Louis City Health Department. I have CDC (Center for Disease Control) Training on Gonorrhea and Chlamydia all week. 8:30-4:30, Monday-Friday. I don't directly deal with gonorrhea and chlamydia at work, I usually focus on HIV, but our department believes in cross training, hence my attendance at the training.

We have a great instructor. She is from Denver and keeps the class interesting and upbeat. She has been in the DIS (Disease Intervention Specialist) field for a long time and boy, does she have some stories. If it weren't for her humorous, outgoing attitude, this week would be almost unbearable. It has been a long time since I have had to sit in a classroom for 8 hours a day. How I got through high school without a cup of coffee at my desk amazes me!!!!

Well, we have discussed just about everything you can possibly imagine over the last 3 days. I gotta tell you, working in this field sure does rid you of any discomforts you had with talking about sex. I have almost no boundries now. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It is amazing the things that I can talk about in public, during a presentation, or the questions I can ask another individual during a risk assessment. And, I think I do a pretty good job of staying nonjudgemental, no matter what my personal beliefs are. Oh, and let me tell you.... you would not believe how many ways there are to say "sex" or how many ways you can refer to male and female anatomy. We go over all of this in trainings. I bet you have never been in a class like the ones I have taken since I started this job.

Sometimes I forget just how important our positions can be. We are there to prevent the spread of diseases. Not only the curable ones such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, but the ones that have no cure, specifically HIV. Sometimes we are the only ones that a client can actually talk to and be honest with. We may be the only people who know how they put themselves at risk. We may be the only person who has taken the time to sit down and educate the client on modes of transmission and ways to prevent the infection. We may be the only person who listens.......

While I complain about how I don't wanna go to training for 2 more days, it has actually been extremely helpful. It has given me a renewed sense of pride in my job. It has motivated me in helping and educating others. That is always a great feeling!!!!

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