In an effort to raise awareness about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the Norwalk Health Department will offer free STD testing on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 between 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm. No appointment is necessary.
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. Many cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis continue to go undiagnosed and unreported, while data on other STDs, such as trichomonas, human papillomavirus and herpes simplex virus, aren’t routinely reported to the CDC, so their true burden is unknown.
Almost half of the reported STD cases occur among young people aged 15 to 24, but people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures can be infected. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, approximately 13,911 cases of chlamydia, 2,731 cases of gonorrhea, and 110 cases of primary & secondary syphilis were reported statewide in 2016, all of which reflected increases from 2015. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are major causes of infertility among women, and these and other common STDs can increase the risk of HIV transmission for both women and men.
Testing is particularly important because many STDs often 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 on Valentine’s Day, the Health Department offers a walk-in STD clinic every Monday and Friday morning, 9:00 am to 11:30 am, and every Wednesday afternoon, 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.