April is National Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month. In an effort to raise awareness about STDs and encourage the public to get tested, the Norwalk Health Department will offer free STD testing on the days and times below. No appointment is necessary.
Getting tested is very important, because many STDs have no signs or symptoms. Early detection can help prevent the spread of STDs and reduce the number of major complications.
In addition to the free testing during the week of April 23, the Health Department offers a walk-in STD clinic every week at these times (Monday and Friday mornings from 9:00 am to 11:30 am and Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm). No appointment is necessary, and the fee is $10. Conventional and/or rapid HIV testing is available at these times, as well as rapid Hepatitis C testing for those eligible.
STDs are a serious public health concern nationwide and locally. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a notable increase in the number of STDs nationwide between 2015 and 2016. Approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur annually in the United States, according to the CDC. Still, health officials don’t know the true extent of STDs for two main reasons. First, many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis go undiagnosed and unreported. Secondly, other STDs—such as trichomonas, human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus—aren’t routinely reported to the CDC.
Almost half the reported cases occur among young people aged 15 to 24, but it’s important to note that people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures can be infected with an STD. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, approximately 13,911 cases of chlamydia, 2,731 cases of gonorrhea, and 110 cases of primary and secondary syphilis were reported statewide in 2016. These rates all increased from the number of cases reported in 2015.
STDs can have major health effects. For example, chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women. These and other common STDs can also increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men.
Click here to learn more about the STD Clinics offered at the Health Department and for links to more information about STDs and sexual health.