April is STD Awareness Month and with it comes both good and bad news. On the downside, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are on the rise. The upside is infections are preventable, so if you are thinking about, or already having, sex, you need to understand what you can do to avoid infection.

Who’s at risk? Anyone who has sex — oral, vaginal, or anal. Still, teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, and men who have sex with men, are most likely to develop symptoms of an infection, such as itching, discomfort, or an unusual discharge. In particular, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are on the rise, all three increasing for the first time since 2006. Though this may be unpleasant news, it’s not tragic. All three are easily cured most of the time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is initiating a simple program to help us all avoid sexually-transmitted disease: Talk, Test, Treat. We need to know how to talk about STDs, when to test for them, and how to treat them.

Open the communication doors and talk freely with any partners and health care providers about your sexual health and STDs. Most tests for STDs are simple, and all of them are routine, so why not figure out how you can get one, and then go back whenever necessary to do it again? Finally, if you find out you’ve acquired an infection, get the treatment you need.

Prevention begins with you.