Local and Community News
Minnesota: Clinic Closure Strains Area STD Testing
April 8, 2003
Following the December closing of the county-run Quiet Care Clinic in Stearns County, Minn., other clinics' personnel are reporting a significant rise in the number of patients seeking testing for STDs. Shut down late last year because of county budget problems, Quiet Care operated two days a week and provided free STD and HIV testing and education outreach for the St. Cloud community. Stearns County public health Director Renee Frauendienst said the county has met with other local organizations to monitor area health statistics.Adapted from:
Carol Larsen, clinic manager for Planned Parenthood in St. Cloud, said there has been a definite increase in the number of people requesting STD testing, requiring Planned Parenthood to rearrange its schedule in order to serve walk-in patients. "We're finding out that a lot of patients need... testing and our schedule is full, and for us to provide services for them we need to be able to take them in the same day they walk in," said Larsen.
Demand for free HIV testing conducted by the Rural AIDS Action Network at the American Red Cross' Central Minnesota headquarters last month was also high. With appointments booked every half-hour, HIV/AIDS specialist Susie Wistrom acknowledged "an obvious need". "It's unfortunate that all we could have offered was HIV testing, but at least it was being offered," said Wistrom. Turnout was so significant that another clinic will be held April 26.
The county has no plans to reopen the Quiet Care Clinic; however, Frauendienst said, another provider could feasibly take over its operations. Currently, few options exist for residents to get tested for STDs should they not want to use a family doctor. Local colleges offer STD testing, although only for students. In addition to STD testing at Planned Parenthood, the Pregnancy Resource Center offers tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea, but not HIV.
St. Cloud Times
04.07.03; Kate Kompas
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.