Tag Archives: testing

DHEC encourages STD testing during National STD Awareness Month

April is National STD Awareness Month and DHEC is encouraging South Carolinians to get STD screenings.

Free testing at public health clinics

To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on April 18. Appointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (472-3432) to schedule your appointment. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.

This year’s theme for National STD Awareness Month is “Treat Me Right.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the theme presents an opportunity for providers to ensure they have the needed tools to properly detect and treat infections. It also encourages patients to learn about STDs and prevention while empowering them to ask their provider what they can do and how they can work together to stay safe and healthy.

Testing helps prevent spread of disease

Studies show that people who have STDs such as gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis are more likely to get HIV compared to people who are STD-free. The same behaviors that increase the risk of acquiring these STDs also increase the risk for getting HIV. When left untreated, STDs can have severe health consequences to the person with the STD and to babies born to an infected mother. STD and HIV testing is a critical step in preventing the spread of disease.

According to 2016 data, there were just over 29,000 cases of chlamydia, nearly 9,400 cases of gonorrhea, and over 300 cases of primary and secondary syphilis in South Carolina.

For more information about STDs and sites that provide screenings, call DHEC’s STD/HIV Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (2437), or visit DHEC’s website at www.scdhec.gov/stdhiv.

DHEC in the News: National STD Awareness Month, opioids

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC encourages HIV testing during National STD Awareness Month

COLUMBIA — April is National STD Awareness Month and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging South Carolinians to get STD screenings.

To assist in these prevention efforts, DHEC’s public health clinics will be offering free testing on Wednesday, April 18. The department urges those at risk for any STD to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested or request testing at one of the public health clinics.

General Interest

As the opioid epidemic rages on, S.C. schools must decide how to teach students about drugs

Given the growing problem of opioid addictions and overdose deaths in South Carolina, the state’s Department of Education has new expectations of health educators.

For example, children in kindergarten should know the difference between drugs of abuse and medicine.

DHEC in the News: Opioids, HIV, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

What’s new with the opioid epidemic? You!

LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) – It’s a story that keeps making headlines – the opioid addiction problem.

Every few days a news story highlights the growing number of those addicted and the deaths that come as a result.

A doctor at Lexington Medical Center says there is something new in the fight against the opioid problem. It’s you.

Lowcountry AIDS Services tested a record number of HIV positive people in January

A local nonprofit that provides free HIV testing is warning that it tested more people positive for the virus in January than in any other month in its 20-year history.

North Charleston-based Lowcountry AIDS Services says seven people tested positive in the month of January, the largest number in a single month. In contrast, no one tested positive in January 2017.

General Interest

Widespread flu causing large shortage in blood donations in South Carolina

The Blood Connection is appealing for donors because the flu is keeping regular donors at home.

“When donors are unable to keep their scheduled appointments because of the flu, the community blood supply drops,” said Dr. Robert Rainer, medical director at the agency.

DHEC in the News: HIV/STD testing, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Health officials provide free HIV/STD testing in the Midlands

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — State health officials continue to work to combat HIV amongst the African American community by providing free HIV/STD testing.

African American’s makeup 28 percent of the state’s population but account for 69 percent of people living with HIV in South Carolina.

To fight the epidemic, health official use National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day to encourage people living with the disease to continue treatment to keep the virus suppressed.

DHEC makes flu shots more affordable

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) — In response to this year’s serious flu season, the Department of Health and Environmental Control is waiving administrative fees that some pay for a flu shot at its public health clinics.

Many health care providers, community organizations and pharmacies offer low-cost or free flu shots. Additionally, most insurance plans cover at least part of the cost.

But cost will not be a barrier to flu vaccines offered in DHEC clinics.

DHEC: Don’t let cost keep you from getting a flu shot

COLUMBIA — This flu season is serious, and cost should not keep you from getting a flu shot.

Many health care providers, pharmacies and community organizations offer low- or no-cost flu shots. Most insurance plans cover at least part of the cost.

In response to the crisis, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is waiving administrative fees that some pay for a flu shot at its public health clinics. In any case, cost will not be a barrier to flu vaccines offered in DHEC clinics.

DHEC, Harvest Hope give free flu kits to families in need

Columbia, S.C. (WACH) — Harvest Hope Food Bank has partnered with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to help prevent the flu among the state’s families in need.

DHEC has given away thousands of “Pandemic Flu Preparedness Kits” to Harvest Hope to distribute along with the meals they provide to thousands of families.

More than 100 succumb to flu so far this season in SC

More than 100 South Carolinians have now succumbed to the flu, state health officials say.

A total of 106 Palmetto State residents have died so far this season, 22 of them in the week ending Feb. 3, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC offers free HIV, STD testing in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Feb. 7, and DHEC will offer free HIV and STD testing at participating DHEC clinics that day.

In the Upstate region, free testing is available Feb. 14.

For more information about HIV testing, as well as local HIV testing sites, call DHEC’s AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-322-AIDS (1-800-322-2437), or visit DHEC’s website at scdhec.gov/HIV.

“African-Americans comprise only 28 percent of the state’s total population, but account for 69 percent of all people living with HIV in South Carolina, a grave disproportionate burden or impact,” said Ali Mansaray, director for the division of STD, HIV and Viral Hepatitis.National HIV-AIDS GetInCare

Mansaray points out that many have not yet been tested and don’t know their HIV status. The theme of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is “Stay the Course, the Fight is Not Over!” The goal is for those living with HIV to start, continue or stay in treatment to keep the virus suppressed.”

“The annual observance emphasizes the steps that individuals, families, agencies and communities can take together to make the greatest impact and reduce the stigma of testing,” said Dr. Linda Bell, state epidemiologist and director of the agency’s bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control. “Those steps include learning the facts about HIV, getting tested, becoming involved and helping to link or relink people with HIV to treatment. These are all ways to make a difference and end the epidemic.”

In conjunction with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, DHEC is also promoting the goal of “Ending the Epidemic[BMLJ1] [MY2] ” in South Carolina. This new initiative seeks to reduce the number of new HIV, STD and Hepatitis C infections, link those living with HIV/AIDS[MY3] to effective care to keep the HIV virus suppressed and re-emphasize prevention.

Throughout the year, DHEC clinics provide HIV testing at a small cost [BMLJ4] depending on the client’s ability to pay. Find a health department clinic at scdhec.gov/Health/PublicHealthClinics and make an appointment. Your life may depend on it!