STD Rates in STL: Where to Find Free Help Locally
Back in February of this year, Innerbody Research published their comprehensive list ranking the top 100 cities in the United States based on STD rates. With record-high STD rates in the United States, and Missouri sitting at the number 10 spot ranking wise for states with the highest STD rates (last updated in January 2020), it is surprising there were only two Missouri cities on the list: Kansas City at number 70, and St. Louis three spots higher at number 67. While the full breakdown for each city on the list can be found at Innerbody Research’s website, here are the numbers for St. Louis as of February 2022:
• 1,224 (STD cases out of 100k)
• 2,467 (HIV cases)
• 6,599 (Chlamydia cases)
• 2,997 (Gonorrhea cases)
• 136 (Syphilis cases)
While these numbers are unfortunate, it is important to remember that we have been improving as a city over the years. Back in 2015, St. Louis County was ranked number 46 in gonorrhea alone with 5,517 cases, and St. Louis City was ranked number 70 with 4,042 cases. Today we are just below 3,000 cases of gonorrhea, and hopefully , those numbers will continue to decrease in our area.
In order to keep both yourself and others safe, practicing safe sex is a vital step to preventing the spread of STDs. While abstinence is the most effective method to prevent the spreading or catching of STDs, it is not the most realistic solution to offer, nor is it the only one out there. Both external and internal condoms have proven effective in preventing the spread of chlamydia, gonorrhea, various genital ulcer diseases, and are highly effective in preventing HIV. It should also be noted that other forms of birth control, such as the pill or IUDs are only for preventing pregnancy. They do not offer any protection from HIV or STDs.
On top of practicing safe sex, the CDC does recommend getting tested between 3 months to a year depending on how active you are and how many partners you have. The good news is there are several places where you can go in St. Louis to get tested for free:
• Vivient Health offers free rapid HIV testing, as well as screening for hepatitis C, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Located at 2653 Locust St. Louis, MO 63103.
• Williams and Associates Inc. offers free testing with same day results for HIV and hepatitis C, and free testing with results in 2 weeks for hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Located at 3737 N. Kingshighway Blvd.
• The SPOT offers both free testing and treatment for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and trichomoniasis. There is also free rapid testing for HIV, and they offer referrals for those who test positive. Located at 4169 Laclede Ave. St. Louis, MO 63108.
There are also on campus resources for students who may not have reliable transportation off campus. UMSL Health Services in the Millennium Student Center offers free HIV testing, as well as testing for other STDs. However, if you are going to UMSL Health Services to get tested for something other than HIV, contact them before making an appointment in order to see if there will be a small fee for the specific test you are requesting.
The STD rates in St. Louis are steadily improving, and that is a good thing, but by practicing safe sex and getting tested, we can help lower our rates even more.