Georgia Coastal Health Officials working to lower region's STD rate

8:22 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- According to 2010 data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state's coastal region ranks fourth in the state for incidences of STDs. The number stands at 4,494 reported cases.

Katrina Howard, a Communicable Disease specialist with Coastal Health District, said there's a problem in coastal Georgia.

"Yes. Definitely," she said. "Our STD rate is very high. You're looking at Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV," she said.

From Camden in the south through Brunswick and up to Savannah, Howard said it is impacting the region.

"You're looking at young adults who are now positive with HIV," said Howard as she described the impact. "We're seeing an increase of younger than 25."

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, there were 800 reported cases of HIV and 1221 reported cases of AIDS in 2008. There were 4,494 reported STD cases in 2010. Data for 2013 is not yet available.

"That's where the misinterpretation is," said Howard. "You know ... they're not understanding that when you do have unprotected sex and you don't know the status of your partner, you're putting yourselves at risk."

Howard is part of a large team trying to slow rates of infection"

"We're testing in the clubs," she said as she described some of the newer methods of testing. "Wherever that high risk is, we're trying to be there so we can do testing."

But Howard said it's up to the community members to be responsible in order to stem the rising numbers of STD cases.

"As a community, we have to accept that the problem is real. That it exists. It's going to take a community effort," she said.

First for you, if you or someone you know is living with HIV/AIDS or any other STD, we have provided a list of testing locations in coastal Georgia. There are also products available for you to be able to test from the comfort of your own home.

HIV Testing Sites:

HIV testing is available at your county health department in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden counties, and in the cities of Pembroke, Richmond Hill, Savannah, Springfield, Hinesville, Ludowici, Darien, Brunswick and St. Marys.
In Savannah, testing is also available at these locations:

- Curtis V. Cooper Primary Care Center
2 Roberts St., Savannah, 912-966-2900
106 E. Broad St., Savannah, 912-527-1000

- Savannah State University
Harris-McDew Health Center, Savannah, 912-356-2217

- Phoenix Project
520 E. 34th St., Savannah, 912-231-1971

- J.C. Lewis Healthcare Center
120 Fahm St., Savannah, 912-927-5271

- My Brothaz Home
127 Abercorn St., Suite 302, (Cluskey building) Savannah, 912-231-8727

Coastal Health District HIV Program Sites:

107 B Fahm St., Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: 912-651-2253

1716 Ellis St., Brunswick, GA 31520
Phone: 912-264-3236

1113 East Oglethorpe Highway, Hinesville, GA 31313
Phone: 912-876-2173

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