Health officials in Massachusetts are worried about rising STD rates, especially because many of the cases involve teens and people in their 20s. Chlamydia, especially, is going up. They urge all sexually active people to use protection every time and to get tested regularly, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.
Most STIs are asymptomatic in the early stages, but they go on to cause irreversible damage to the body. Social stigma may prevent people from coming into the clinics, or it could be the cost of health care. You may be able to find free STD testing during awareness campaigns or STD Awareness Month.
In 2016, Bristol County had an HIV prevalence rate of 282.8 per 100K people, under the Massachusetts rate of 342.5.
The same year, Bristol County’s chlamydia rate was 315.9, in comparison to Massachusetts’s rate of 394.5. The gonorrhea and (primary and secondary) syphilis rates were 72 and 4.5.
At least one nonprofit offers free STD testing, but only for those who cannot pay. You may need to show proof of your income to see if you qualify. The Greater New Bedford Community Health Center, on Purchase St, provides screening for HIV and hepatitis A, B, and C. AFC Urgent Care New Bedford, on Coggeshall St, offers confidential STI testing and treatment.