Black Hawk County Health Expands Sexual Health Services and STD Screening | Best Stories
WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Black Hawk County has had one of the highest STD transmission rates in the state for more than a decade, as shown by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
In 2020 there were 1,006 cases of chlamydia, or 767 per 100,000 population in the county. Percentage wise, this is relatively low, 0.007%. However, compared to the state average – 478, the problem in the county is much clearer.
Black Hawk County Public Health already offers free STD testing and treatment for many common STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, but this week they announced a new partnership to help address the high transmission problem. .
“We asked what are some of the ways to make testing routinely available and that expands our testing services,” said Black Hawk County Health Director Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye.
Black Hawk County Health is now working with Unity Point and Allen College to provide STD screening and testing at ACE-SAP free clinic at Waterloo. Dr Egbuonye says one of the biggest barriers preventing people from getting tested is access – and this new expansion will help with that.
Another barrier is the stigma surrounding sexual health or the fear of getting tested in general. But as Dr. Egbuonye says, the consequences of not knowing can be serious, including future reproductive health issues.
“It’s better for people to know, you know one, if you test negative – good news, right? But if you test positive, we have treatments to avoid the serious consequences of not be treated.”
So when should you get tested? Dr Egbuonye says there are three key factors – one, if you’ve recently changed sexual partners, two, someone tells you you may have been exposed, or three, you have symptoms. Black Hawk County Health Department offers tests from Monday to Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment or without an appointment.
STD testing and treatment is free, but you may be asked to pay a lab fee depending on the test. The department also provides free condoms, advice on safer sex and materials on how to stay healthy.