April marks STD Awareness Month, and Get Yourself Tested (GYT) is a national campaign during the month of April that focuses on helping young people take control of their sexual health and wellbeing. GYT aims to normalize positive perceptions and beliefs about people who get tested for STDs, and encourages young people to talk openly with their partners and to get tested themselves.
In an effort to mark this important month, Anna visited The Center in Orlando for her own STD screening. More formally known as the LGBT+ Center Orlando, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center is a nonprofit organization that promotes and empowers individuals and groups through information, education, advocacy, and support. The Center became ground zero for Pulse response work, and is well known in Central Florida as a powerful resource of free STD testing and mental health counseling.
“We are lucky to have The Center in House District 47,” said Anna. “It was very important for me to take a break from the campaign trail and get tested. There are still a lot of myths about having a STD, and a great deal of stigma about getting tested too. All STDs, even HIV, are treatable, and many are curable. Early treatment can help prevent serious, lifelong health issues that can result from untreated STDs. But you can’t get treatment if you don’t know your status — and the only way to know your status is to get tested.”
Data released this month by the CDC show record numbers for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, with cases of all three diseases increasing for the first time since 2006. Florida has some of the highest rates of syphilis, and in 2016 alone, 4,972 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Florida. That was more than any other state. In 2014, more people died of HIV/AIDS in Union County, Florida than anywhere else in the country, with the disease accounting for about 65 out of every 100,000 deaths.
“Access to quality health care and education is a fundamental right for all people to reach their fullest potential,” Anna added. “Our health shouldn’t depend on who we are or where we live, and I am committed to building a state where all people can access the healthcare they need to be healthy and strong.”
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More About Anna
Anna V. Eskamani is lifelong Orlando Native and daughter of immigrants who has worked relentlessly her entire life to protect all members of our community through effective advocacy, bold leadership, and strategic management. A community organizer with a proven track record in building consensus while fighting unapologetically for progressive values, Anna currently serves as the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.* She manages a team across 22 counties and is known in the legislature and across the nation as an advocate for women’s health and equality. Anna is also a PhD student in Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida and serves as an Adjunct Professor teaching Intro to Women’s Studies. Tough, authentic and unafraid, Anna is a progressive who has proven herself as a leader who works hard, delivers results, and gets things done. Anna has been featured on the cover of Time magazine.
* Provided for biographical purposes only