Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rearview mirror, county health officials are better able to focus on other pressing health concerns – like the persistent and major problem of sexually transmitted diseases in Guilford County.
The county, especially in the High Point area, has faced off against the scourge of STDs for years.
The Sexual Health Action Group is a program in the Guilford County Division of Public Health that provides services meant to “promote safer sexual practices and prevent sexually transmitted infections.” The group’s services include STD testing, condom distribution to local businesses, providing access to clinics with sexual health education classes and more.
The group is leading the fight against the very problematic and recalcitrant STD threat in Guilford County. To that end, county health officials have held a series of free, “pop-up” testing events.
The division recently held two such events In observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Also, on Friday, March 10, county health officials held a “Lunch and Learn” session on STD’s at the Self Help Building at 122 N. Elm St. in Greensboro.
At a Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting in early March, County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann also briefed the board on the county’s battle to halt the spread of STD’s.
Last week, the Public Health Division’s Sexual Health Action Group – also known as “SHAG” – held pop-up testing events at the Greensboro Health Dept. at 1100 E. Wendover Ave. in Greensboro, as well as at the High Point Health Dept. at 501 E. Green Dr. in High Point.
At those clinics the services included:
- Free and confidential testing for HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis B & C
- Medication referrals
- Condom distribution
- Sexual health education
- Access to local healthcare resources
The services were available to all attendees with no identification required.
Jordan Wilson, the county’s community health educator, said these events were an “opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, and treatment among women and girls – and all of Guilford County.”
He added, “While we work to make STD testing and resources affordable and accessible to community members – racism, discrimination, and mistrust in healthcare still often affect whether people seek or receive prevention services.”
Wilson also said, “Together, when we work to overcome barriers to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment, and stop HIV stigma, we help reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities in our community.”
He added that health officials are excited to continue providing opportunities like the pop-up events for the community, which allow people to engage with the county and get the care they need.