DHEC has free testing day April 13 for National STI Awareness Week
To raise awareness about the public health impacts of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is joining public health agencies around the nation in recognizing April 9-15 as STI Awareness Week.
DHEC encourages people to get tested so they know their status when it comes to STIs, also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). From 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, residents can visit Laurens County Health Department to be tested for hepatitis C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, HIV, and syphilis at no cost. Scheduling an appointment is recommended.
To make an appointment, call 855-472-3432 or schedule online using Web Chat. Ask about extended or weekend hours. Clinic services at Satellite Site located at 300 Plaza Cir Suite C, Clinton, SC 29325, (864) 569-3277 or (864) 833-0000. Services include Family Planning, Immunizations, STD/HIV, WIC and Naloxone.
“STDs are preventable, and an individual’s first step in prevention is getting tested,” said Ali Mansaray, director of DHEC’s STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division. “With the number of certain types of STDs rising annually in South Carolina and across the nation, we can’t do enough to educate each other about the importance of STD safety, including prevention and treatment, which is what National STI Awareness Week is all about.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the number of STD cases nationally has spiked since 2017, with more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in 2021 alone. This upward trend in STD numbers leads to an increase in other challenges as well, including the number of babies born with syphilis and risks of infertility.
In South Carolina during 2021, the number of reported chlamydia and syphilis infections increased while the number of reported gonorrhea infections decreased in South Carolina. There has been a slight decline in the number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the state from 2020 to 2021, according to DHEC’s STD, HIV, and Viral Hepatitis Division.
“Through continued support with community partners and public outreach efforts, our program is committed to providing the resources that make a difference in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases,” Mansaray said. “STD and HIV testing is a critical first step in that process.”
DHEC provides information about STDs, prevention tips, educational materials, treatment options and more at scdhec.gov/stdhiv. DHEC also operates an STD/HIV Hotline available for anyone to call for information or resources: 1-800-322-2437.