Thanks to a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Atlanta’s HIV/AIDS mental health agency now adds no-cost tests for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia to its programs that already include free HIV screenings.
The tests for gay and other MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) populations began Feb. 26. The screenings are offered at no cost Tuesdays through Fridays at the Positive Impact offices. The existing free HIV rapid-test screenings are available Mondays through Saturdays with same-day results. Results for the other STD tests are available on a follow-up visit.
The STD screenings are currently only available to men, but both men and women are still welcome to receive free HIV testing at the agency. All screenings are provided at no charge on a walk-in basis.
Medical treatment for guys who test positive for any of the STDs is not offered on site, but Positive Impact has referral partners to get you with the right health care provider for you and your circumstances.
“We are now enabled to assess for potential high-risk behaviors in clients, and engage those clients simultaneously through both HIV testing and STD screening, and then make appropriate referrals into one of several of the agency’s HIV prevention programs,” Danny Sprouse, prevention director at Positive Impact (photo), says in a press release.
Statistics show that STD infections are good predictors of HIV-risk behaviors, especially a high correlation between syphilis and HIV infection rates.
Last year, a study showed that more than half of U.S. counties with the highest prevalence of HIV infections are in Georgia. Fulton County tops that list. That bombshell was closely followed by news that Georgia ranks 39th in spending on public heath crises like HIV and syphilis, among other chronic diseases in the state.
“We believe that the effectiveness of the combined STD screening, HIV testing and the additional prevention programs will be increased because of this unique opportunity, thanks to the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” Sprouse adds.
Positive Impact’s walk-in hours for HIV and other STD screenings are now a permanent part of Project Q Atlanta’s daily Gay Agenda calendar of events. Hours for the new STD tests are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. Free HIV testing
is available Mondays through Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.