June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and in preparation, local health agencies will be providing three days of free STD/STI screenings.
The screenings are for HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis and will take place on June 24-27.
The Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health, Walgreens and other local health agencies will be hosting the 43 screening opportunities.
The screenings are a component of a campaign launched by the Office of Public Health’s STD/HIV Program.
Titled Start it! Louisiana, the campaign is designed to raise public awareness that sexually transmitted infections are common across the state and can cause serious health problems.
Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health, says it is important to get screened, “It doesn’t matter how, it matters that you do,” he said. “Many of these infections don’t cause you to feel ill early on, so the first step to taking charge of your health is getting tested.”
The Start It! campaign also encourages people to:
- Start treatment for STIs (including starting HIV treatment)
- Start talking about sexual health
- Start visiting louisianahealthhub.org for accurate information on STI prevention
- Start using condoms for every sexual encounter
According to the CDC’s 2017 STD Surveillance Report, Louisiana has some of the highest STD rates in the United States:
- #1 for congenital syphilis case rates (newborns with syphilis)
- #2 for chlamydia case rates
- #3 for primary and secondary syphilis case rates (most infectious stages)
- #3 for gonorrhea case rates
Participating locations include:
Central Louisiana AIDS Support Services
Brass/ Baton Rouge AIDS Society
Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge
Metro Health Education
Haart/ HIV AIDS Alliance for Region 2
Capitol Area Re-entry Program Carp
Priority Health Care
STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Program
Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (SWALAHEC)
Priority Health Care
St. John Camp ACE
Odyssey House Louisiana
The full list of screening site locations, dates and times can be found here.