On Thursday, February 28, the Deschutes County Health Department began offering a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic day for men only. The creation of the male specific clinic is an effort to combat the high rate of HIV and Syphilis among males in Oregon.
Open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on a walk-in basis, the clinic will be held at the Department's Downtown Health Center, 1128 NW Harriman St. in Bend, Oregon. The clinic focus is to screen men for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. After February 28, the clinic will be open every second and fourth Thursday of the month, at the same location, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Anyone whose is sexually active with a person or persons other than a long-term monogamous partner, should be routinely checked for sexually transmitted infections even in the absence of symptoms. This is because most STDs initially have no signs or symptoms.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at a higher risk of contracting HIV. The term MSM refers to all men who have sex with other men, regardless of how they identify themselves (gay, bisexual, or heterosexual). In the state of Oregon and in Deschutes County, men who engage in sex with other men constitute the majority of HIV infections as well as Syphilis cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Research has shown that many MSM who know they are infected with HIV, change their behaviors to lower their risk of transmitting the virus. Therefore, encouraging more people to know their HIV status, through increased HIV testing, can help decrease HIV transmission."
For more information on preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV or the new male-only clinic, please call 322-7400 or visit www.deschutes.org/mensclinic.