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Local and Community News

Colorado: El Paso County Takes STD Tests to Clubs, Shelters

April 14, 2003

In Colorado, El Paso County health workers are visiting night clubs, shelters and soup kitchens to offer free testing for STDs. Of the 2,013 HIV tests performed by county workers last year, 227 were conducted at outreach sites like the gay nightclub Hide N' Seek.

The nightclub promotes the testing through fliers and posters, and workers from the Southern Colorado AIDS Project will "work the floor" to encourage people to get tested. "I think they're more comfortable with the fact that they don't have to walk into the Health Department and maybe somebody else is there that they won't want to see -- somebody from the office, or work, or Fort Carson," said club owner Joe Brady. On April 6, 28 people -- straight and gay, men and a few women -- sought testing. The workers have been coming to the club quarterly for more than two years. "It's almost the culture here now," said Eka Walker, who heads the HIV and hepatitis C program at the county health department.

Department workers have also taken their makeshift clinic to the Red Cross Shelter, PrideFest, the Salvation Army and the Marian House soup kitchen. Sometimes the testing includes hepatitis and syphilis. "If we pick up one positive at an outreach event, you know the event was worth going to. We also do a lot of counseling, so basically we're doing prevention," Walker said.

The out-of-office testing requires those persons being tested to sign a consent form and talk with a health counselor. Results are available in about 10 days, but test subjects must go to the Health Department to get them. No results are given over the phone.

There were 69 new HIV cases in El Paso County last year, up from 59 in 2001.

Back to other CDC news for April 14, 2003

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Adapted from:
Associated Press

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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.
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