Thursday, February 4, 2016

Have questions about sexual health? Go Ask TISH!

Jefferson County Public Health’s Family Planning program reminds adult and youth that planning pregnancies actively is one of the most important things that can be done for reproductive health.   In addition, February happens to be National Condom Month. It is a perfect time to remind everyone that   safe sex means more than using birth control, it also means using condoms and other barrier methods to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Of all the birth control methods available, the condom is the most frequently used method that is not only effective at preventing pregnancy (98% effectiveness rate for male condoms and 95% for female condoms, when both used correctly and consistently) but also protects against the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV.

While various forms of birth control may prevent pregnancies, they do not prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs.  If you are sexually active and have not been using safer sex practices including condoms, limiting the number of partners you have, and do not know your STI status, you are at risk.  Get tested at our clinic location in Lakewood.  Call 303-239-7078 to schedule an appointment.   If you have any questions and need answers, text your questions to 720 446-TISH (8474), the Text Information Sexual Health line is confidential and answered regularly by one of our public health nurses. You can also watch the Sex Ed with Mel video episodes on safer sex practices and sexually transmitted infections for more information. 

Jeffco Wears Red and a little Orange and Blue

Jefferson County employees are gathering for a picture in recognition of National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5, 2016 in the atrium of the Courts and Administration building.  The day also provides an opportunity to support our superbowl bound Broncos, thus come in orange and blue if you like and we will provide the red.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. In fact, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 43 seconds. Each minute, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart disease-related event.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 610,000 people die from heart disease each year in the United States.  Despite the numbers, heart disease is preventable and manageable.

Tackling known risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and inactive lifestyle  can greatly reduce risks for illness and death from heart disease.

·         For more information on heart disease and prevention, please visit the American Heart Association .
·         Act in Time! Learn the warning signs and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of symptoms.
·         The health department also has handouts and other educational materials on heart health and reducing your risk factors.
·         Learn more about current healthy eating and active living work occurring within Jefferson County and/or get involved in the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network: A group of multi-disciplinary coalitions in Jefferson County, Colorado working together to increase physical activity, healthy eating, and psychosocial well-being among low-income families with children ages 0-18. Visit the Network website,  Healthy People Healthy Places Jeffco , for more information about the Network and the six CoINs (Coalitions Integrated into the Network).

Please visit our web site at  for more information.

Alcohol and Pregnancy . . . Why Take the Risk?

A new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alcohol and Pregnancy highlights the fact that:
  • More than 3 million US women are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol. 
  • 3 in 4 women who want to get pregnant as soon as possible report drinking alcohol. 
  • 100% Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are completely preventable. 
Why take the risk?
  • Women who are pregnant or who might be pregnant should be aware that any level of alcohol use could harm their baby.
  • All types of alcohol can be harmful, including all wine and beer.
  • The baby’s brain, body, and organs are developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by alcohol at any time.
  • Drinking while pregnant can also increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Read the report, view an infographic with data and learn about prevention.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Travel Warnings Issued about Zika Virus

Jefferson County Public Health in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is advising the public that amid concerns about the potential association between Zika virus infection and birth defects in Brazil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued and is updating travel warnings about areas with ongoing risk. Zika virus transmission now affects more than 20 countries and territories in the Americas. People in the U.S. who have had the virus all traveled to areas where it is common. 
Women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to those places and check the CDC website for current alerts.
Zika virus is carried by the Aedes species mosquitoes. These mosquitoes pick up the virus when they bite an infected person and spread it by biting other people. The primary mosquito for Zika virus, Aedes aegypti, doesn’t live in Colorado, because our state is too dry and cold for them. The other mosquito that might transmit Zika, Aedes albopictus, has a larger range, but also does not live in Colorado.
Zika virus is usually mild, and symptoms last only a few days to a week. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). You can prevent illness by preventing mosquito bites. People traveling to areas where Zika has been transmitted should use an EPA-registered repellent and apply and re-apply products according to the label directions. Examples of EPA-registered repellents are DEET, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and picaridin. The mosquitoes that carry Zika are aggressive daytime biters and will bite indoors and out.
Travelers who think they may be ill with Zika should consult their health care provider. Zika virus testing is available for symptomatic people only from the CDC and four U.S. state health departments. Colorado’s state laboratory is not testing for Zika virus at this time, but will help health care providers send samples for testing.

If you have more questions about Zika, visit the CDC web page, the CDPHE web page or contact COHelp at 877-462-2911.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

5210 Jeffco

Jefferson County Public Health is excited to be using the 5210 message campaign aimed at improving child health by promoting healthy eating and physical activity.  5210 Jeffco is adapted from 5210 Let’s Go!, a program started in 2006 by The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.   5210 Jeffco reminds every one of four healthy habits to aim for each day:

*Keep TV/computer out of the bedroom.  No screen time under the age of 2.

The 5210 Jeffco message will be used by public health and our partners to educate and inspire community members where they live, learn, work, and play.  The message encourages awareness and action with easy-to-remember messages and vivid educational materials.

Early childhood, from birth to age five, is an extremely important developmental time of life when many health habits are formed, habits that can have lifelong impacts on health.  Across the nation and in Colorado, young children are not getting enough physical activity or consuming the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. In Jefferson County, one in five children and over half of all adults are considered overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.   Jefferson County’s 2013 Community Health Assessment shows that rates of these chronic diseases are on the rise.

Jefferson County Public Health supports the behavior changes promoted by the 5210 messages as important educational messages that can help reduce obesity rates among Jeffco’s children. It is our goal that the 5210 Jeffco message does more than educate, but also inspires community change through policies that support healthy environments for all.   

We are looking for opportunities to promote 5210 Jeffco throughout the county as we work in collaboration with early childhood partners.  5210 Jeffco messaging will also be used by the Jefferson County Community Health Network coalitions working to improve health for everyone in the County.

Upcoming Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Network Meeting

The Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network is a group of multi-disciplinary coalitions in Jefferson County, Colorado working together to increase physical activity, healthy eating, and psychosocial well-being among low-income families with children ages 0-18. The next network meeting will take place on January 26, 2016 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.

This Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network meeting will include:

  • Updates from each of the Network’s six coalitions: Active Living, Food Access, Health in Early Childhood, Healthy Beverage, School Wellness and Preventive Care & Mental Health Resources.
  • Opportunities for attendees to give input and to take action.
  • The release of the newly updated Jefferson County Community Health Improvement Plan, which focuses on coalition goals and strategies for increasing healthy eating, active living and psychosocial well-being.
  • Networking and idea sharing among organizations.

For more details and to sign up to attend, please visit the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Network website or contact Pamela Gould, Jefferson County Public Health Planner, at or 303-275-7526.

Make Time for Cervical Health & Cancer Prevention

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Jefferson County Public Health wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. It’s also a major cause of cervical cancer. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.

The good news?
  • The HPV vaccine (shot) provides protection against 70% of cervical cancer.
  • Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.

As part of your Annual Wellness Visit, Jefferson County Public Health will provide you with breast and cervical cancer education and/or screening if you are a woman 20 years of age or older (including male to female transgender and female to male transgender).

Cervical Cancer Prevention

ü  It starts with you! If you or your partner is under 27 (male or female), complete the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination series (3 separate injections over 6 months). This vaccine provides immunization against specific HPV types that can cause 70% of cervical cancer.

o   We offer the HPV vaccination in our clinic. Call and make an appointment today.

ü  It continues with you! Because HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, consider abstinence or limit your number of partners and use condoms. Once HPV is contracted, having a strong immune system will help you fight against the infection.  Adopt a healthy lifestyle of eating nutritious foods, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol intake and don’t smoke.

Cervical Cancer Screening

ü  Once you turn 21, you are encouraged to have your first Pelvic Exam and Pap Test. As long as the results are normal, your health care provider will repeat these procedures every 3 years until you turn 30.

o   A Pelvic Exam is when the health care provider inspects your external genitalia, vagina and cervix; and also feels your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
o   A Pap Test is when the health care provider collects some of your cervical cells so that it can be tested for pre-cancerous cells.

ü  Once you turn 30, in addition to a Pelvic Exam and Pap Test, Jefferson County Public Health will also perform an HPV Test. As long as the results are normal, we will repeat these three procedures every 5 years up to and including age 65. However, screening may be stopped earlier if you have had your cervix removed for benign reasons; or it may continue for many more years depending on the type of abnormal results in your history.

o   An HPV Test is when the collected cervical cells from the Pap test are examined for the types of human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer.

ü  Depending on your age, risk factors and the results of your cervical cancer screening, your health care provider may recommend more frequent screening and additional procedures. At Jefferson County Public Health, we will support you in scheduling appointments for any follow-up procedures that may be required.

But I don’t need to…but I feel fine…but I can’t afford…

ü  Most invasive cervical cancer occurs in women never screened or those who have not had a Pap Test within the past 5 years.

ü  Early stages of cervical cancer usually have no symptoms and can take years to develop and spread. Early detection is very important.

ü  Jefferson County Public Health will provide you with accessible and cost effective care. We serve individuals who are uninsured, underinsured, enrolled in Medicaid and those with certain private insurance.

Care Coordination Program

If you are a woman between the ages of 40 and 64, you may be eligible for a new program at Jefferson County Public Health called the Women’s Wellness Connection (WWC), Care Coordination Program. This program helps ensure access to breast and cervical cancer screening among women who have or are eligible for health insurance, including Medicaid, and who meet WWC’s income and lawful presence eligibility criteria.

This program is offered as part of your Annual Wellness Visit and includes:
·         Assessing your need for breast and cervical cancer screening;
·         Assisting you through completing the recommended cancer screening; and,
·         Supporting you with the required follow-up if there are any abnormal results.

If you are already seeing another health care provider for your Annual Wellness Visit and you are receiving breast and cervical cancer screening with them, please consider this a reminder that your annual visit is due in 2016.

Otherwise, please call us today to see if you qualify and/or to schedule your Annual Wellness Visit with Jefferson County Public Health at 303-239-7078.

There is no cost to you for this care coordination program, as this is a benefit provided to you through a grant from the WWC. This program does not provide any financial reimbursement for cancer screenings services as these are provided through your health insurance coverage.  If you no longer have current health insurance, you may be eligible for services through another WWC grant program. You can call the Family Healthline at: 303-692-2229 to find the name of another agency that could provide this service.