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AHF Columbia Grace Medical Group
Waverly Family Practice
Columbia Health Center
Richland County Health Department
Department of Internal Medicine Infectious Disease Division
Testing for STDs at home is safe, convenient, and private. Performed regularly, it can help you stay healthy and avoid unknowingly transmitting STDs.
You have many options for at-home STD testing. The best at-home STD tests are FDA approved and evaluated for safety and accuracy with fast result turnaround times and support from health care professionals.
At-home STD testing kits should include instructions for collection and test registration, along with materials such as containers and swabs to collect and send your sample to the lab. Most at-home STD tests offer results in about five days through a secure online patient portal.
The three most common STDs in Columbia are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Between 2017 and 2018, Richland County experienced increased frequencies across all three STDs.
In 2018, chlamydia was diagnosed in South Carolina residents at a frequency of 675 infections per 100,000 people, considerably higher than the national rate of 540. In Richland County, this infection is documented at an even higher rate, affecting residents at an occurrence of 1,059 diagnoses per 100,000 people. There were 4,358 chlamydia infections disclosed in the county in 2018, an 8% increase over the number of cases documented in 2017 and a 22% increase over 2016. Statewide, females account for the majority of infections, particularly those aged 15-24. In this demographic, chlamydia is reported at a rate of 882 infections per 100,000 South Carolina females.
There were 13,801 gonorrhea infections documented in South Carolina in 2018, which is nearly 10% more than the number of cases in 2017 and 46% more than in 2008. Statewide, this infection was reported at a frequency of 278 cases per 100,000 people. Males make up a little over half of the infections, although the frequency among females increased by 45% between 2014 and 2018. In Richland County, the rate was considerably higher at 446, giving it a ranking of sixth in the state for the rate of infections. In 2018, the CDC documented 1,834 cases in the county.
The 2018 South Carolina STD/HIV/AIDS Annual Surveillance Report showed that there were 1,252 total syphilis cases in South Carolina in 2018, which corresponds to an occurrence of 25 infections per 100,000 people. Nearly 18% of the total number of syphilis infections in the state were reported in Richland County. In 2018, there were 222 documented cases for a rate of 54 infections per 100,000 people. Seventy-two of these cases were primary and secondary syphilis. Most of these infections were reported in males, with females accounting for only 17% of infections statewide.
While some STDs are associated with uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain and burning during urination, lower belly pain, and sores, most infected people experience slight or no symptoms. Unfortunately, an STD infection can have a severe impact on long-term health. The CDC recommends that all sexually active individuals be tested for HIV at least once, and women should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea at least annually. For those who don’t feel comfortable talking to their primary care practitioner about STDs or who don’t have health insurance, the Columbia region is home to several free and low-cost clinics.
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 Columbia 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:
CAN Community Health is a nonprofit clinic that provides specialized sexual health care services for Columbia residents, including those living with HIV. The clinic is open on weekdays and provides HIV and STD testing and treatment, PrEP services, case management, transgender care, and HIV prevention and education. STD test results are typically available within two weeks, and proper identification is necessary to retrieve results. The clinic also provides primary care services, and it has an on-site pharmacy for added convenience. Its telehealth services make treatment accessible to those who are unable to travel to the clinic.
1911 Hampton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
The Richland County Health Department operates the Public Health & Family Planning Clinic to provide a full array of services to the community, including WIC, immunizations, and family planning services. Clients can also receive HIV and STD testing for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The clinic accepts most major health insurance plans, and clients without insurance are charged on an income-based sliding scale. Appointments are required for services and can be made over the phone or via the clinic’s online booking tool.
2000 Hampton Street
Columbia, SC 29204
The Wright Wellness Center, a nonprofit clinic, offers testing and treatment for HIV, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. Gonorrhea and chlamydia tests are conducted using urine samples, and all other tests are performed using blood draws. Test results are available within seven to 14 days. All testing is free and can be administered every 90 days. Services are provided by appointment and on a walk-in basis. To receive test results, clients must visit the clinic or set up a login to the patient portal.
1813 Laurel Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Columbia Health Center is operated by Planned Parenthood. It offers a full array of services for clients, including primary care, HIV services, LGBTQ services, birth control, pregnancy testing and services, and STD testing and treatment. Some STDs that clients may be tested for include syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes. Results are typically available within two weeks, depending on the type of test. STD services can be accessed in person or through the clinic’s telehealth service. The clinic accepts most health insurance plans, and a sliding fee schedule is provided for self-pay clients. Appointments are required and can be made online or by phone.
2712 Middleburg Drive, Suite 107
Columbia, SC 29204
PALSS offers free services to those diagnosed with or at risk of contracting AIDS and HIV. It provides free, confidential HIV testing, as well as STD screening for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis C. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and B are available. In addition to testing services, the organization operates Adams Place, a clinic for men; the Women’s Health Council Project, providing HIV and STD prevention education and health services for women; PACE, counseling clients with at-risk behaviors; and a food pantry.
2368 Two Notch Road
Columbia, SC 29204