Lake Wales, Florida, is in Polk County, where chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are also the three most prevalent STDs. Over the last 10 years, Polk County has recorded a nearly 60% increase in chlamydia cases, more than a 158% increase in gonorrhea diagnoses, and more than a 138% increase in total syphilis infections.
Polk County saw a small dip in chlamydia cases in 2016, but infections have risen every year since, including a 10% increase in 2019. Cases among women were twice as prevalent as those among men in 2019, with female cases making up 68% of all cases and male cases accounting for 32%. However, chlamydia diagnoses among men are increasing more quickly. Before 2013, chlamydia infections among women were three times as prevalent as they were in men, and in 2006, the ratio was nearly five to one. Between 2013 and 2019, the ratio has been slowly getting closer together.
Reported gonorrhea infections tracked a steady rise between 2012 and 2017 in Polk County, with cases increasing by more than 136% during the six-year period. Diagnoses finally took a 15% drop in 2018, only to spike again by more than 49% in 2019. The county has previously seen numbers drop several years in a row instead of just a single dip. Infection rates per 100,000 people in 2019 were more than double the rates of 10 years ago. While gonorrhea diagnoses among men were about 10% higher than among women, prevalence between the sexes has bounced back and forth over the years.
Infectious syphilis cases in Polk County nearly doubled in 2018 and rose another 25% in 2019. Diagnoses of infectious syphilis have predominantly been among men. However, male infections in 2018 were 10 times higher than females, while male cases in 2019 were only four times higher. Young adults aged 20 to 29 made up the age group with the highest incidence of infectious syphilis, accounting for more than 48% of all cases countywide.
Undiagnosed STDs can do serious damage to your body, even if you don’t have any symptoms, and testing is the only way to know for certain whether you have an STD. If you think you may have been exposed to an STD or you’ve been involved in risky behaviors, contact one of the facilities in or around Lake Wales to schedule your low-cost or free STD testing to gain peace of mind.
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 Lake Wales 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:
CFHC’s Lake Wales Clinic offers confidential testing and treatment for HIV, hepatitis B/C, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. The minimum fee for services is $25, but you won’t be denied services due to an inability to pay. All patients are charged using a sliding fee scale, and Medicaid and Medicare are accepted. Services are provided in English and Spanish. Appointments are preferred but not required. Clinic hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
305 West Central Avenue
Lake Wales, FL 33853
Florida Health’s Bartow Specialty Care Clinic in Polk County offers routine testing for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Standard STD testing costs $25 and seeing a provider for treatment if you test positive costs $25. However, charges are based on a sliding fee scale, and private insurance and Medicaid are accepted. You can also request partner services if you’re HIV/STD positive. Walk-in testing and treatment are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but appointments are recommended by calling 863-519-7910, option 3.
1255 Brice Boulevard
Bartow, FL 33830
Community Care Resources of FL provides free, confidential rapid HIV and syphilis testing and low-cost chlamydia, gonorrhea, and hepatitis B and C tests with some samples sent to the Florida Department of Health. You can also get screening for herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 and treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms. The clinic also offers other STD treatments. Treatment prices vary, but insurance and Medicaid are accepted, and there’s a sliding fee scale. Clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
7492 Cypress Gardens Boulevard
Winter Haven, FL 33884
Planned Parenthood operates the Lakeland Health Center and offers HIV testing and bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, herpes, and trichomoniasis testing and treatment. It also offers PID testing, herpes tests during visible flare-ups, free male and female condoms, and HPV vaccines. Services are available in English or Spanish, by appointment or on a walk-in basis. Planned Parenthood offers a sliding fee scale to fit your budget if applicable. Clinic hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
2250 East Edgewood Drive
Lakeland, FL 33803
The Center Kissimmee provides free health services, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, herpes 1 and 2, HPV, hepatitis B, and syphilis testing. Due to HIPAA regulations, you can’t receive your test results over the phone. Clients aged 13 or older may receive services without parental consent with a photo ID required. Appointments aren’t required, but wait times can vary for walk-ins. HIV/STD testing is only available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can pick up free condoms during all normal operating hours.
17 West Monument Avenue
Kissimmee, FL 34741