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With sexually transmitted infections on the rise, local health department expands free testing

Hospital health care
Fernando Zhiminaicela
/
Pixabay, used with permission.
The Greene County Health Department offers free STI testing and some free STI treatments.

STIs have increased 12 percent in Greene County since the pandemic began, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

In Greene County, sexually transmitted infections have increased 12 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to data kept by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Kendra Findley, the Administrator of Communicable Diseases at the Springfield Greene County Health Department, saidthe pandemic is largely to blame.

“There were fewer testing options during the pandemic response that can certainly be an issue because if you don’t know your status you would have no idea if you were spreading something," said Findley.

To curb the rise of STIs, the health department has expanded free testing times. Starting on November 1st, patients can make appointments for Tuesdays from 9 to 11:30 am, and 1 to 3:30 pm.

The walk-in in testing on Monday and Wednesdays from 8am to 2pm remains.

“It’s unfortunate that there is such a stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections. Because if you have sex, you’re at risk of possibly being exposed to an infection," said Findley.

She advises anyone who’s sexually active to get tested and also said using a condom correctly can help prevent infections.

To schedule testing, and find other free testing, visit the Springfield Greene County Health Department’s website at https://www.springfieldmo.gov/2917/STI-Testing-Treatment or call 417-864-1684. Testing is free and open not just to Greene County residents.

Meghan McKinney is an undergraduate journalism student at Missouri State University. She works as a news reporter and announcer for KSMU. Her passions, other than journalism, are psychology, music, sign languages and dancing. She also runs a local music page on Facebook called "SGF Playlist."