Howard County health officials are worried about the STD rates, which reached record highs in 2016. In particular, teens are becoming infected by chlamydia and gonorrhea at alarming rates.
To combat this, health professionals are focusing on sex education and are providing free, confidential STD testing and counseling, even inviting teens to produce STI-awareness videos.
In 2017, Howard County had a chlamydia rate of 353.8 per 100K people, a gonorrhea rate of 73.2, and a primary and secondary syphilis rate of 4.7. In 2015, there were 400 people living in Howard County with HIV or AIDS, with a prevalence rate of 169 per 100K people.
There are a number of STD-testing clinics in Columbia, and even more options if you can get to Baltimore (and it can be easier to find free STD testing in larger cities). The Howard County Health Department on Stanford Blvd provides STI and HIV testing on a sliding-fee scale. You can do the HIV test anonymously if you prefer.
Chase Brexton Health Care, on Knoll North Drive, provides walk-in HIV testing. They test for other STDs for an affordable fee if you’re not a patient.