Jefferson County Department of Health
Crestwood Medical Center
Ensley Health Center
Birmingham is the most populous city in Alabama, the seat of Jefferson County, and the center of the Birmingham–Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area, often referred to as Greater Birmingham. Like most metro areas, Greater Birmingham has struggled with rising STD rates. But unlike many, this area saw a decrease in chlamydia and gonorrhea cases between 2017 and 2018 and only a slight increase in syphilis cases.
Jefferson County ranked 67th in the nation for reported cases of chlamydia in 2018 with 5,121 occurrences. This relatively low ranking may have been partially due to a dip in chlamydia cases in Greater Birmingham, which saw the 7,388 reported cases in 2017 drop to 6,391 in 2018. Both sexes saw a decrease in cases, with female diagnoses dropping from 4,985 in 2017 to 4,126 in 2018. Diagnoses among men also decreased, but not as significantly — 2,377 to 2,231. However, the reduction in chlamydia cases may be a temporary victory considering the significant spike in reported cases between 2016 and 2017 — from 4,982 to 7,388.
Despite an increase in overall cases statewide, Greater Birmingham saw a significant decline in gonorrhea cases, with 6,892 in 2017 dropping to 5,998 in 2018. However, like chlamydia, this decrease occurred after a large spike between 2016 and 2017, from 5,854 to 6,892 cases. The 2017 increase was noticeable among males, from 1,068 in 2016 to 1,827 in 2017. Cases among men increased further in 2018 to 1,841. Cases among women stayed in the 900 range from 2014 to 2016, then skyrocketed to 1,644 in 2017 and dropped to 1,494 in 2018.
Jefferson County ranked 65th for reported primary and secondary syphilis in 2018, with 112 cases, translating to an infection rate of 17.0 per 100,000 residents. In Greater Birmingham, syphilis diagnoses in all stages increased from 314 in 2017 to 344 in 2018. Primary and secondary cases increased from 122 to 124. The rise in primary and secondary syphilis occurred in women, from 21 to 23. While male incidences remained the same between 2017 and 2018, the number of infections was four times higher than in women, with 101 cases reported both years.
It’s common for individuals with STDs to be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t experience any symptoms that tell them they’ve been infected. Even without symptoms, they can still pass an STD on to others, and the longer their STD goes undetected, the greater the risk of long-term negative effects on their health. Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if an STD is present. Residents of Birmingham can access several resources that provide free or low-cost testing.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain one of the most critical public health challenges facing the United States, with approximately 26 million new STD infections occurring every year. Nearly half of these new infections affect young people ages 15 to 24.
Community-based organizations are a vital first line of defense in the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS in particular. They generate awareness and foster social change while providing access to testing and treatment.
You may not be aware of all the STD resources available in Birmingham that can help prevent the spread of STDs. Get connected with these community organizations that are leading the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS with resources and support:
The Sexual Health Clinic operated by the Jefferson County Department of Health offers testing and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, trichomoniasis, and hepatitis C. Nurse practitioners and infectious disease doctors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham staff the clinic, which also provides pre-exposure prophylaxis services to adults age 18 and older. All services are confidential and available at a minimal cost. Clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and HIV testing is also available. Same-day appointments can be arranged by calling the clinic.
1400 6th Avenue South
Birmingham, Alabama 35233
The Shelby County Department of Health offers confidential testing, treatment, counseling, and partner referrals for most sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, and HIV. These services are available to any individual aged 12 and older. Through its family planning services, individuals may also receive pregnancy testing and birth control supplies and counseling. Appointments may be scheduled by calling the clinic, which operates Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
2000 County Services Drive
Pelham, Alabama 35124
Free, confidential HIV and STD testing, education, and counseling services are available at the Magic City Wellness Center. Testing may include a urine sample, finger prick, and/or vaginal/rectal swab. UAB processes the tests with results within two business days for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis, and in 20 minutes for syphilis, hepatitis C, and HIV. Testing is provided in clinic by appointment with Quest Laboratories and may be billed to insurance or with self pay. Clinic hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Individuals can also contact the Education Director to schedule an appointment outside regular hours if needed.
3220 5th Avenue South, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35222
Birmingham AIDS Outreach offers free, confidential HIV and STD testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis C, and trichomoniasis. Individuals with reactive HIV tests are immediately given another oral swab test, which is sent to an off-site lab for confirmatory results within seven business days. UAB processes STD tests with results in two business days. Appointments aren’t required, except for those needing to schedule testing outside of regular hours. Normal clinic hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. During COVID-19, the organization is offering free drive-thru testing in their parking lot Monday-Thursday 12:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. They offer a take-home/drop-off box kit test for STD/STI tests and HIV tests are done in person in the drive-thru.
205 32nd Street South
Birmingham, AL 35233
The Birmingham Health Center, operated by Planned Parenthood Southeast Incorporated, provides STD testing, diagnosis, and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis, as well as HIV testing and diagnosis only. It also offers STD prevention services, including condoms, HPV and hepatitis vaccines and education, and STD and safer sex education. Some testing and treatments may be covered by insurance, otherwise, payment must be rendered at the time of service unless other arrangements have been made beforehand.
1019 1st Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35205