KENT COUNTY, Mich. - Startling numbers when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases are prompting the Kent County Health Department to raise awareness with free walk-in testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV during the week of April 17-21.
"The CDC says 1-in-2 sexually active people under the age of 25 will get an STD," said April Hight, Public Health Program Supervisor for Personal Health Services at the Kent County Health Department.
In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of people with STDs reached and all-time high nationwide, and more than half of all STDs are shared between people 15-24. Hight says Kent County ranks third in the state for the highest number of people with Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, which is why testing is so important.
"We're usually around 4,000 cases a year for Chlamydia in Kent County," Hight said.
2016 numbers have not been calculated but Hight believes those numbers are continuing to rise, which is why the Health Department is offering free walk-in, non-evasive urine testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea all week. Free blood tests for HIV are also being offered.
The tests are being offered at the Kent County Health Department located at 700 Fuller NE, Grand Rapids from Monday, April 17 through Friday, April 21 between 8:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and again from 1:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Thursday April 20, testing will be limited to only the afternoon hours. No appointment is necessary.
"It's a huge problem and I think there needs to be more education," Hight said. "We have to talk about this more openly, which is a hard thing to do because it's a taboo topic."