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Sexually-transmitted infections on the rise; new Test and Go clinics will offer free testing

Crystal Graham
young couple on beach
(© Miramiska – stock.adobe.com)

Beginning next week, the Harrisonburg Rockingham Health Department will make it easier for people to be tested for sexually-transmitted infections.

The Central Shenandoah Health District announced it will offer after-hours clinics once a month where no appointments are needed.

The Test and Go clinics will offer free testing, and anyone who receives a positive test result will be connected to treatment options.

The goal for the walk-in testing is that patients will be in and out in 15 minutes or less.

The first clinic will be offered Feb. 20.

Testing will be available for STIs including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV.

“The Harrisonburg Rockingham Health Department Test and Go clinics are a great resource for any individual who is sexually active and needs access to STI testing,” said Elaine Perry, acting health director for the Central Shenandoah Health District. “Rates of STIs have increased significantly in the past several years in Virginia and nationally, so it is more important than ever to know your status.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have urged communities to improve testing of syphilis in particular after alarming increases nationwide. A new federal task force has been formed to address the syphilis epidemic. Syphilis cases in nearly every demographic and region have increased, according to the CDC.

It is recommended that anyone who has been exposed to an STI or has symptoms seek STI testing.

Routine STI testing and treatment is also available by appointment at the Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro Health Department locations.

Upcoming Test and Go clinics

  • Feb. 20, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • March 19, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • April 16, 4:30-6 p.m.
  • May 21, 4:30-6 p.m.

Walk-in appointments are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Patients will be accepted until 6 p.m. or until 10 testing spots are taken, whichever comes first.

Individuals are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 p.m. to secure a testing spot.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.