NEWARK – This month, the Licking County Health Department is launching free STD clinics for Licking County residents at satellite locations across the county in addition to their weekly Tuesday afternoon clinic held at the department’s office in Newark. The first of these satellite clinics will be held the second and fourth Fridays of every month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hebron Fire Department, 111 Basin Street.
“Like the Health Department’s satellite W.I.C. and Immunization clinics, the STD clinics will provide access to a public health service at locations that may be more convenient for residents,” said Joe Ebel, Licking County Health Commissioner. Satellite STD clinics are part of the Health Department’s initiative to provide access to public health services to those who are unable to visit the department.
The satellite STD clinics will screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea. No appointments are necessary. If a person is found to be positive for either STD, free medication to treat the infection will be provided at the Health Department.
Chlamydia cases have increased nationally since 2008. Licking County has one of the highest rates of chlamydia in the Central Ohio region.
“It is important for sexually active people to be tested for STDs,” said Ebel. “Often STDs do not cause obvious signs or symptoms, so people do not always know they need treatment. By offering satellite clinics, we hope community members who are not able to travel to the department for a screening will walk in to these clinics and get screenings.”
The Health Department hopes to offer satellite STD clinics in more locations across the county throughout 2015. The department is working with its Medical Reserve Corps to coordinate healthcare volunteers to run these satellite clinics in coordination with the department’s nursing staff.
Left untreated, STDs can cause serious health problems which include cervical cancer or inability to have children. STDs are spread during close sexual activity which includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
Sexually active people can protect themselves from STDs by using latex condoms or having sex with only one partner who is known not to be infected with an STD. Reducing the number of sex partners can decrease the risk for STDs. It is still important that both individuals having sex with one another get tested, and they share their test results with one another.
For more information, please visit www.lickingcohealth.org.