Chicago AHF Wellness Center, which offers free HIV and STD testing and treatment, officially opens Thursday on Chicago’s South Side area at the AHF Healthcare Center on S. Michigan Avenue; additional support services are available on-site through South Side Help Center.
Wellness Center opening comes following news Monday that the Illinois Department of Public Health will no longer provide STD testing for many county health departments and other facilities.
CHICAGO (October 7, 2015) Effective Thursday October 8th, a new AHF Wellness Center – Chicago, which offers free HIV and STD testing and treatment and is operated by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will open at 2600 S. Michigan Ave., (Ste. LL-D) Chicago, IL 60616. The AHF Wellness Center opening comes following news Monday reported in the Chicago Tribune from the Illinois Department of Public Health that the state “…will no longer provide testing of sexually transmitted infections for dozens of county health departments and other facilities, saying resources must be shifted to more complicated testing to identify disease outbreaks and biological threats.”
The AHF Wellness Center, AHF’s first in Illinois, is housed at the AHF Healthcare Center/South Side, which opened in January of this year and provides a full spectrum of care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients. Hours at the new AHF Wellness Center location will be: Mondays AND Thursdays, 4:00pm to 8:00pm.
AHF Wellness Centers provide access to the community for confidential and free testing for HIV and STDs including Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The clinic also offers free treatment for STDs.
AHF WELLNESS CENTER – CHICAGO
2600 S. Michigan Ave. Suite LL-D, Chicago, IL 60616
(inside the AHF Healthcare Center-Chicago)
Dr. Kaleo Staszkow, Physician in Charge
AHF WELLNESS CENTER HOURS: Monday AND Thursday 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
NOTE: STD Results (NOT HIV reactive tests) will be delivered electronically through Healthvana
AHF HEALTHCARE CENTER HOURS:
Monday AND Thursday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm; Wednesday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm
The AHF Healthcare Center, officially open for business since January, will now offer clients premier comprehensive HIV/AIDS services and programming, including primary care, case management, testing, and support groups. The HCC hours of operation are Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Wednesdays, from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm or by calling (312) 881-3050 for appointments and more information.
“Routine screening for HIV and STDs is important for anyone who is sexually active, and we are honored to now open this site on Chicago’s South Side, our first Wellness Center in Illinois,” said Albert Ruiz, Director of Wellness Center Programs for AHF’s Public Health Division. “We routinely see patients at the Wellness Center that were unaware that they had an STD. Because STDs oftentimes go unnoticed, and can result in serious health complications if left untreated, routine screenings provide an important mechanism to protect your health, as well as that of your partners.”
“We are excited to announce the opening of this new AHF Wellness Center, but question the wisdom of the state stopping support of county health departments and other facilities in Illinois,” said Dr. Kaleo Staszkow, Medical Director for the AHF Healthcare Center and Physician in Charge for the Wellness Center. “According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois spent $10.2 million on testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV specimens during the last budget year—a relatively modest amount, given the fact that there is a syphilis epidemic unfolding across the country, and incidence of other STDs are on the rise. It seems a ‘penny-wise, pound-foolish’ approach by state officials with regard to critical public health services for the people of Illinois.”
STD Statistics in Chicago
Following are some STD statistics of note from the Chicago December 2014 HIV/STI Surveillance Report:
- MSM have experienced an average annual increase in HIV infections of nearly 5% since 2009.
- The number of Primary and Secondary syphilis and chlamydia diagnosed from 2009-2013 remain constant.
- The number of Primary and Secondary syphilis cases diagnosed among those between the ages 20 and 29 years has experienced an estimated annual increase of 4%, since 2009.
- Increases in Primary and Secondary have also been observed among Hispanics (9.4% estimated annual increase), as well as Non-Hispanic Asian Pacific Islanders (25.9%).
- Congenital syphilis remains persistent in Chicago.
- Since 2009, Non-Hispanic Asian Pacific Islander have seen the largest increase in chlamydia cases (8.1% estimated annual increase) of any race/ethnicity group.
- Hispanics experienced an overall 5% average increase in gonorrhea during the past 5 years.
- Compared to national trends, rates in Chicago have remained stable or decreased in recent years.
- The rate of Primary and Secondary syphilis is nearly 5 times higher in Chicago than the U.S. rate.
- The chlamydia rate is 2 times higher, and the rate for gonorrhea is nearly 3 times higher than the national rate.
- New HIV infection diagnoses in 2013 were highest among those who identify as male (84%), were reported as MSM (75%) and 39% were between the ages of 20-29 at diagnosis.
- Compared to older adults, adolescents and young adults are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections.
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most commonly diagnosed in youth and young adults aged 13-24 years and Non-Hispanic Blacks.
- Gonorrhea is diagnosed in men and women nearly equally; chlamydia is diagnosed much more commonly among females (69.8%).
- The largest proportion of Primary and Secondary syphilis diagnoses are observed among Non-Hispanic Blacks, males, MSM and those over the age of 30, although those between the ages 20-29 are heavily impacted.
Source for above information is from the HIV/STI Surveillance Report, Chicago dated December 2014.
AHF operates Wellness Centers in California, Florida, New York, Ohio, Texas and Washington, DC as well as in Mexico City. Additional location information can be found at www.freeSTDcheck.org.
AHF and South Side Help Center announced a formal affiliation in February of this year to improve outreach and prevention, care and treatment efforts in the Chicago area, particularly targeting underserved communities.