East providence, RI is filled with New England charm and plenty of things to do. What it is not so well-known for is its rising number of sexually transmitted disease cases.
In 2017, Rhode Island hit a 10-year high in the number of newly diagnosed chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases. In 2016, new cases of chlamydia rose by 55% over 2007 rates. Syphilis was diagnosed in 153 persons, compared to 46 cases in 2007. The increases in STDs are disproportionate to population increases, which points to other reasons, but they can only speculate on the causes.
The Rhode Island State Health Department states that Rhode Island saw an increase of 8 percent in STDs, while national averages only increased by 5%. Cases of syphilis were up 23%, which is a remarkable increase in new cases.
The Rhode Island Health Department has launched several programs that it hopes will increase public education about the importance of getting tested for STDs and will lead to more education on a local level. As part of these efforts, if has established free STD testing clinics in many counties in the state.
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Providence Community Health Centers, and Quest Diagnostics also offer std testing.
Some are free, but others offer their services on a sliding scale. If you use a free clinic, under Rhode Island initiatives, it is possible that you will be contacted by health officials if you test positive. The results may not be as confidential as you wish.