Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STD/HIV Testing Program
Our clinic is located at 2600 LaFranier Road, Traverse City. It is between South Airport Road and Hammond Road on the east side of LaFranier. Clinics are generally held 2 days a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. Evening appointments are available twice a month (1st and 3rd Wednesdays). Our phone number is 231-995-6113.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by infections that are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. These infections often do not cause any symptoms. Medically, infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms. That is why STDs are also called “sexually transmitted infections” or STIs. But it is very common for people to use the term STD, even when there is no sign of disease. Anyone can get an STD. Sexually transmitted infections are almost always spread from person to person during sexual activity. These infections are most easily spread during vaginal, anal and oral sex. Some STDs can also be spread through blood, particularly among intravenous (IV) drug users who may be sharing drug equipment (needles, syringes, or "works"). In addition, pregnant women with STDs may pass their infection to babies in the uterus (womb), during birth or through breastfeeding.

Many people with STDs have no symptoms. Without treatment these infections can lead to major health problems such as not being able to get pregnant (infertility), permanent brain damage, heart disease, cancer and even death.

The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to get tested.

If you suspect for any reason that you have been exposed to or have symptoms of an STD, STOP having sex until you are tested, in order to prevent the possible spread of infection. Timing of testing is important for test accuracy. If you think that you have been exposed to an STD but have no symptoms, it is best to wait at least 1-2 weeks before testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea to ensure an accurate test result. Please call the Health Department if you have questions about the timing of testing.

If you have any symptoms of an STD, call right away to make an appointment for testing at 231-995-6113. Not sure? Take a quiz using the the STD RISK CALCULATOR now.

OUR CLINICS provide CONFIDENTIAL SERVICES for BOTH MALES AND FEMALES. This includes testing and treatment of many different infections listed below.  All clients, including adolescents, have a right to full privacy. Confidentiality will not be broken without clear verbal or written consent, as required by law. Parent permission is not required for teens to receive services.

Depending on your risk factors, the Health Department can do laboratory testing for:

Chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

Who gets it?
Sexually active men and women between the ages of 15 and 24 are at the highest risk of becoming infected. Chlamydia is often called a “silent infection” because in many cases there are no symptoms. Anyone who has had unprotected sex could be at risk for chlamydia.

What are the symptoms?
If present, symptoms may include a discharge from the vagina or penis and a burning sensation when urinating.

Is there a cure?
These infections are easily cured with antibiotics. Repeat infections with chlamydia are common. Untreated chlamydia infections can lead to serious health problems, including infertility.

How to test?
The only way to know if you have chlamydia is to have a test. Testing is simple, and can be done on a urine sample. Do not urinate 1 hour prior to your appointment. Testing can also be done during a pelvic exam if necessary.

Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a serious sexually transmitted infection.

Who gets it?
Sexually active men and women between the ages of 15 and 24 are at the highest risk of becoming infected. Anyone who has had unprotected sex could be at risk for gonorrhea. Untreated gonorrhea infections can lead to serious health problems, including infertility.

What are the symptoms?
Most women and some men may not have any symptoms of this infection. If symptoms do occur, they may include a burning sensation when urinating or discharge from the vagina or penis.

Is there a cure?
These infections are easily cured with antibiotics.

How to test?
The only way to know if you have gonorrhea is to have a test. Testing is simple, and can be done on a urine sample. Do not urinate 1 hour prior to your appointment. Testing can also be done during a pelvic exam if necessary.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (PDF) is a liver infection caused by a virus.

Who gets it?
It can be spread by unprotected sex, sharing needles or other “works” to inject drugs, sharing toothbrushes or razors with an infected person, needle stick injuries, or when being born to a mother who has Hepatitis B.

What are the symptoms?
Most people infected will not have any symptoms. If they do, symptoms may include extreme tiredness, pain in the abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Is it curable?
Some people will get over a Hepatitis B infection while others will have Hepatitis B for the rest of their lives. There is no drug to cure Hepatitis B. A vaccine is available to help prevent Hepatitis B.

How to test? Testing is done by a blood test.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C (PDF) is a liver infection caused by a virus.

Who gets it?
Although not common, it can be spread through unprotected sex. It is more commonly spread by having contact with the blood of an infected person, mainly through sharing contaminated needles or other equipment to inject drugs. It may also occur from needle stick injuries or when being born to a mother who has Hepatitis C.

What are the symptoms?
Many people will have no symptoms, but if they do they may include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and yellow color in the skin or eyes.

Is it curable?
Some people will get over a Hepatitis C infection while others will have Hepatitis C for the rest of their lives. There is no cure for Hepatitis C. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.

How to test?
Testing is done by a blood test.

HIV
HIV infection is a long-term illness that damages the body’s immune system, or its ability to fight off diseases.

Who gets it?
HIV spreads through contact with infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. This means that HIV can be transmitted by having unprotected sex, sharing needles with someone that is infected with the virus, or it can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.

What are the symptoms?
Almost 1 in 5 people in the United States that are infected with HIV are unaware of their infection. Early symptoms can be flu-like (fever, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, and rash).

Can it be cured?
There is no cure for HIV. Drugs are available to prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others.

How to test?
Confidential testing is available at the Health Department. Testing is done with a blood test.

Syphilis
Syphilis is an STD caused by a specific bacteria that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly.

Who gets it?
You can get syphilis by having direct contact with a syphilis sore during sexual activity. Syphilis can also be spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may or may not occur. The first sign may be a painless sore that occurs on the genitals or mouth. Often people do not know they have been infected.

Can it be cured?
Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics.

How to test?
Testing is done by a blood test.

Trichomoniasis
Trichomoniasis (trich) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a protozoa.

Who gets it?

It is passed to another person during unprotected sex.

What are the symptoms?
Most men and women do not show any symptoms. If they occur, symptoms may include itching, burning with urination, or discharge from the vagina or penis.

Can it be cured?
Trichomoniasis can be cured with medication.

How to test?

An examination is needed for diagnosis. There is no blood test for trichomoniasis.

Genital Bumps & Sores
It is sometimes very difficult for people to know the difference between skin lesions and rashes. That is why it is very important to have these evaluated by a trained health care provider as early as possible. Laboratory testing (like a blood test) is not done at the Health Department for genital warts or genital herpes, but these infections may be diagnosed during an examination of the genital skin areas. We cannot diagnose these infections unless skin lesions are examined.

Laboratory testing is not done at the Health Department for the following infections, but may be diagnosed during an examination:

Genital Herpes
Herpes is a very common STD. It can affect the mouth (oral herpes) or genitals (genital herpes)by looking for ulcers or sores on the skin.

Who gets it?


Herpes is spread by skin-to-skin genital or oral contact. It can be spread even if symptoms are not present.

What are the symptoms?


Most people with herpes have no symptoms or have mild symptoms. The most common symptom is a cluster of painful blistery sores. These sores may last 1-2 weeks and go away but may return in weeks, months, or years.

Is there a cure?


There is no cure for genital herpes.

How to test?


An examination is needed for diagnosis. The Health Department does not perform blood testing for herpes. Medication may be prescribed to help manage the symptoms of genital herpes.

Genital Warts (HPV)
Genital warts are growths on the skin of the genital area caused by certain types of the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Who gets it?


Genital warts are passed from 1 person to another by skin-to-skin genital contact during sexual activity.

What are the symptoms?


They look like flesh-colored soft bumps on the skin. They may grow in more than one area or in groups on the skin. They are usually painless but they may itch.

Is there a cure?


There is no cure for HPV, but genital warts can be treated and removed. There is a vaccine available to help prevent HPV infection.

How to test?


Not all bumps on the skin in the genital area are genital warts. An examination is needed for diagnosis. There is no blood test for genital warts.

Ways to prevent STD's
  • Abstinence (don't have vaginal, anal or oral sex)
  • Vaccination (to prevent Hepatitis B and HPV)
  • Mutual monogamy (be sexually active with just 1 person)
  • Reduce number of sex partners
  • Use condoms every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex and use a new condom if you switch from 1 type of sex to another with your partner
Infections We Treat With Medications
(Follow links to find additional facts on these from the CDC.)

Tests, medications, and office visits are charged on a sliding fee scale based upon income. No one will be denied services because of the inability to pay. Medicaid is also accepted.

Contraceptive methods are also available through our Family Planning Program. Free condoms are available without an appointment.

Please call us at 231-995-6113 to schedule an appointment.

Bottom line: GET TESTED!