ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In recognition of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1st, Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, in collaboration with its community partners, is offering free confidential sexual health screenings.
World AIDS Day is observed each year to give people an opportunity to reflect on the impact that HIV and AIDS have had on people and nations throughout the world. Observing the day also serves as an opportunity to unify in response to the epidemic and increase awareness while also celebrating the great strides that have been made in the prevention, care and treatment to support people living with AIDS and honor those that have been lost to it.
“HIV is no longer a death sentence,” Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of Communicable Disease Control Services and Vector Programs at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, said. “Because of biomedical advancements, it is now treated as a chronic disease. However, before treatment can begin, people must know their sexual health status. The sooner people are linked to medical care and treatment, the better their health outcome. Testing is the key.”
The goal of observing World AIDS Day is an AIDS-free generation.
Dates, times and locations of screenings are listed below. In addition to the screenings for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and traditional HIV screenings, those who come for the free screenings will be able to receive express testing services. These services include Rapid HIV and hepatitis C screening. The Rapid screening tests are reported to only take 15-20 minutes.
Screening days and locations:
“Know Your Status” Sexual Health Screening, Movie and Discussion Event – Nov. 29th
Webster University – Interdisciplinary Science Building
8274 Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63119
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
World AIDS Day Sexual Health Screenings (2 locations) – Nov. 30th
North Central Community Health Center (Sexual Health Clinic)
4000 Jennings Station Road, Pine Lawn, MO 63121
8:30 am – 11:00 am and 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Skate King Skating Center
2700 Kienlen Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63121
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
There is also an educational event in honor of World AIDS Day in addition to the sexual health screenings.
“I Know More About My HIV and HEP C” Educational Event – Dec. 4th
William J. Harrison Education Center
3140 Cass Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63106
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
To register for the educational event, visit www.eventbrite.com.
“Saint Louis County wants to create a favorable environment for both residents and visitors who need access to HIV education, prevention, care and treatment services,” Steve Stenger, St. Louis County Executive, said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), AIDS affects 1.2 million people in the United States and 2 in 8 of those people do not know they have it. To stop its spread, it is recommended that anyone who is sexually active gets tested regularly.
Anyone unable to attend the events listed above, but who is interested in obtaining free or reduced cost sexual health screening should visit www.GetTestedSTL.org and www.STLCondoms.com, as free STI and HIV screening is regularly offered by the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health and community-based organizations. These websites serve as a comprehensive resource for finding free educational materials, safer sex resources and local services for sexual health testing, treatment and support.
Additionally, if you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection, it is recommended that you contact your primary healthcare provider.
More information about World AIDS Day can be found here.