Berrien County Health Department reminds community members of sexual health services ahead of Valentine’s Day

Published 4:24 pm Monday, February 12, 2024

BENTON HARBOR — As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Berrien County Health Department is reminding community members of its testing services to ensure they are only spreading love, not sexually transmitted diseases.

BCHD provides accessible and nonjudgmental STD testing services to community members through its Sexual Health Clinic. In-person and telehealth appointments as well as fast-track testing and walk-in services are available to offer peace of mind.

These services help prevent and treat STDs through testing, treatment and educational support. Services are offered at lower rates than other local health care organizations, and most types of insurance are accepted.

“As we enter this season of love, we want to stress the importance of regularly testing for STDs,” said Dionne Rigozzi, BCHD’s clinical and community health services supervisor. “We also want to remind the community of the services we offer to emphasize the importance of practicing safe sex.”

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections are acquired every day worldwide, the majority of which are asymptomatic. Over the past four years, there has been an increase in cases of STDs in Berrien County, particularly chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis.

Rigozzi says regular examinations and testing are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infection and identify health concerns early on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing every three to six months for STDs.

BCHD Sexual Health clinic appointments are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays at the Health Department’s Benton Harbor office, 2149 E. Napier Ave., and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at its Niles office, 1205 N. Front St.

Walk-in services are available at both locations 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, and telehealth appointments are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Fast-track testing offers quick testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea with a urine sample. The service is available 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday at both locations.

To learn more about BCHD’s Sexual Health Clinic services, visit bit.ly/BCHDSexualHealthClinic.