Nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur in the United States every year says a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says half of all sexually active young people will get and STD by age 25. Because of these sobering statistics and in recognition of National STD Awareness Month the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) will be offering free “walk in” urine testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia during the week of April 17.
The tests will be offered at the KCHD Fuller Clinic at 700 fuller NE, Grand Rapids, Monday April 17, through Friday April 21, between 8:45am and 11:30 and again from 1:15 to 4:30. On Thursday, April 20, testing will be limited to only the afternoon hours. No appointment is necessary.
“Only when individuals know their own status can they begin to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,” said KCHD Administrative Health Officer Adam London. “That knowledge is the key for getting medical treatment and taking steps to ensure against the spread of infection.”
KCHD will additionally offer free HIV testing for those who are at risk of the virus and offer referrals to clients for tests that are not available at KCHD.
KCHD and the CDC recommend routine testing for at risk individuals. STD screening and early diagnosis are essential in preventing the spread of disease and the long-term consequences of STDs.
Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and consistently and correctly using condoms are all effective prevention strategies. Safe, effective vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B and some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause disease and cancer. And for all individuals who are sexually active – particularly young people – STI screening and prompt treatment (if infected) are critical to protect a person’s health and prevent transmission to others.
More information about STDs is available at www.cdc.gov/std.