STI Testing & Treatment
We work to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections through confidential testing and treatment. STIs can cause serious health issues if left untreated. Our staff is here to help you get testing and treatment to help you stay healthy.
Testing at the Health Department
For walk-ins: Limited walk-in testing is available at Springfield-Greene County Health, located at 227 E. Chestnut Expressway. Walk in on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 am-2:00 pm. Call 417-864-1684 to ensure space is available.
For appointments: Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:00-10:45 am and 12:15-3:00 pm. You may schedule up to 7 days in advance.
We offer tests for the following STIs:
- Mycoplasma genitalium
We do not offer testing for herpes, HPV, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections. PAP smears and birth control are not offered at the STI clinic. Visit your healthcare provider for these services.
We do give out free condoms and dental dams.
No children will be allowed in the exam rooms. Only service animals will be allowed inside the Health Department building.
Sexual Health Information
Getting tested for STIs is the only way to know for sure if you have one. Knowing your status helps you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting an STI. You should be examined by a healthcare professional if you notice any of the following symptoms, or if your partner has an STI or symptoms of an STI:
- Abnormal genital discharge
- Painful urination
- Abnormal bleeding
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sores or ulcers in the mouth or genitals
- Itching or irritation of the genitals
Testing for STIs is an important standard of sexual health and wellbeing. Many STIs can be asymptomatic, leaving routine testing to be the only way an individual may know if they have been infected. Springfield-Greene County Health recommends:
- Adults with new or multiple partners be tested for STIs at least once a year.
- Everyone who is pregnant should be tested for STIs early in their pregnancy to prevent serious health complications.
- Those with anonymous partners or other high risk sexual or non-sexual behaviors, like sharing injection drug equipment, may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every three to six months), but should be tested at least once a year for HIV.
- People whose partner tells them they tested positive for an STI.
- Those with symptoms that could be due to an STI.
- The safest practice is to make STI testing a routine with each new partner.
It is important to note that some providers, including those who offer testing at no cost, have limits on how often people can access their services. If you have received testing services from a provider within the last year, please consult the provider to ensure that you’re eligible to receive services.
We offer treatment at no cost for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis and Syphilis. Treatment may be in the form of a pill or an injection.
If you are newly diagnosed with HIV, we partner with AIDS Project of the Ozarks to get you started on treatment the same day.
Treatment for Mycoplasma Genitalium is called in to your preferred pharmacy. Cost for treatment depends on the pharmacy and your insurance coverage.
A positive Hepatitis B test does not necessarily mean a person has been recently infected, just that infection has occurred at some point in life, or that the person has been vaccinated.
If you are diagnosed with an STI, our nurse will contact you directly to ensure you come back to the office for treatment. You may also check your patient portal for test results.
Springfield-Greene County Health's Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) will reach out to people who test positive for syphilis and HIV to connect them with treatment resources and help identify and contact people who may have been exposed so they can get tested.
If you've just found out you have an STI, you may be trying to figure out what to do next. Here are the three most important steps you can take:
- Get treated: STIs can be treated with medicine from your healthcare provider. Make sure you take all you medicine exactly as instructed. Untreated STIs can cause other health problems, including infertility.
- Tell your partner: It is up to you to tell your partner(s). Your partner may also be infected and not know it and needs to get tested and treated. Without treatment for your partner, they might pass the STI back to you. It may be uncomfortable, but telling your partners about STIs allows them to protect their health, too.
- Get retested: Get retested in three months to ensure you and your partner haven't been reinfected.
Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI, but infections are preventable. Here's how you can avoid giving or getting an STI:
Practice abstinence: The surest way to avoid STIs is to not have sex.
Use condoms or dental dams: Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help you avoid STIs. Condoms lessen the risk of infection for all STIs. You still can get certain STIs, like herpes or HPV from contact with your partner's skin, even when using a condom. We do distribute free condoms and dental dams at the STI clinic.
Have fewer partners: Agree to only have sex with one person who agrees to only have sex with you. Make sure you both get tested to know for sure that neither of you has an STI. This is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STIs.
Talk with your partner: Talk with your sex partner(s) about STIs and staying safe before having sex. It might be uncomfortable to start the conversation, but protecting your health is your responsibility.
Get tested: Many STIs don't have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested.
Chlamydia is a common STI (sexually transmitted infection) that can affect anyone.
How is chlamydia spread?
Chlamydia is spread by having sexual contact with someone who currently has chlamydia. While chlamydia is primarily spread through anal and vaginal sex, it can also be transmitted through oral sex. During sex, this infection spreads through semen, pre-cum, or vaginal fluids. You can transmit chlamydia even if you are not showing symptoms.
Chlamydia cannot be spread through casual contact such as sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, or sitting on a toilet seat.
How do I know if I have chlamydia?
It is very common for individuals infected with Chlamydia to not show symptoms, which is why it is important to be tested regularly.
Symptoms may include:
- Burning sensation when peeing
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain or swelling in one or both testicles
- Rectal discharge, pain or bleeding
- Unusual sores
How does chlamydia affect pregnancy?
Pregnant individuals with untreated chlamydia can pre-term deliver and cause conjunctivitis and pneumonia in a newborn.
Is chlamydia treatable?
Yes! Like other common bacterial infections, chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics given to treat chlamydia are either
administered as a single dose or over a seven-day period. You should wait to have sex until seven days after a single dose treatment or once you have completed all prescribed antibiotics.
What happens if I don't treat my chlamydia?
If left untreated, chlamydia can have long-term impacts on a person’s health: Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to complications like:
- Formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
- Long-term pelvic or abdominal pain
- Epididymitis or inflammation of the testicles
- Reactive arthritis, a joint pain that develops due to an infection
How do I prevent chlamydia?
You can prevent getting or passing chlamydia by consistently using condoms or dental dams during sex. You also reduce the likelihood of getting chlamydia by being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a person who has tested negative for chlamydia. If you are sexually active it is important to schedule STI testing on a regular basis to help reduce the spread of chlamydia.
Ranking alongside chlamydia and HPV in the top three most common STIs/STDs, gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is very common in sexually active people between the ages of 15-24.
How is gonorrhea spread?
Gonorrhea is spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex with an individual who is currently infected. Gonorrhea can be spread simply through physical contact with an individual’s genitals or anus. A pregnant person can also give the infection to their baby during birth.
How do I know if I have gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea often presents with no symptoms, which highlights the importance of getting tested. Even without having symptoms, gonorrhea can cause serious health issues.
Symptoms may include:
Painful or burning sensation when peeing
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- White, yellow or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles (less common)
Rectal infections can also be present with no symptoms, but symptoms may include:
- Anal itching
- Painful bowel movements
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Usually, gonorrhea is diagnosed through a urine sample, but a doctor may swab the infected area if you have had oral and/or anal sex.
Is gonorrhea treatable?
Yes! Treatment with medication can cure gonorrhea. A medical professional can assist you with accessing medication. While medicine can stop the spread of infection, it cannot undo permanent damage caused by a gonorrhea infection. Some strains of gonorrhea are resistant to medication. If your symptoms persist for more than a few days after starting medication, contact a doctor.
What happens if I don't treat my gonorrhea?
Leaving gonorrhea untreated can cause serious and permanent health problems.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to complications like:
- Formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
- Long-term pelvic or abdominal pain
- Rare risk of the spread of gonorrhea infection to blood or joints, which can be life-threatening
- An increased risk of contracting or spreading HIV
How do I prevent gonorrhea?
You can prevent getting or passing gonorrhea by consistently using condoms or dental dams during sex. You also reduce the likelihood of getting gonorrhea by being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a person who has tested negative for gonorrhea. If you are sexually active it is important to schedule STI testing on a regular basis to help reduce the spread of gonorrhea.
The best ways to lower the presence of HIV stigma are to openly discuss HIV and take action with supportive behaviors and words.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the body’s immune system. If left untreated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV cannot be cured, but it can be effectively treated with proper medical care.
How is HIV spread?
HIV is most commonly spread through anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles, syringes or other substance injection equipment.
Who can get HIV?
Anyone can get HIV, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or age. Some groups of people are at a higher risk for being exposed to or contracting HIV because of certain risk factors.
Exposure risks include, but are not limited to:
- Blood transfusion
- Needle-sharing during injection substance use
- Receptive/insertive anal intercourse
- Receptive/insertive penile-vaginal intercourse
How do I know if I have HIV?
The only way to know you have HIV is to get tested. If you think you were exposed to HIV, contact a doctor or a local testing clinic for testing options.
HIV can be categorized into three stages:
- Acute HIV Infection
- Occurs within 2-4 weeks after infection
- Very contagious, high amount of HIV in blood
- May have flu-like symptoms, prompted by immune response to infection
- May be asymptomatic
- Chronic HIV Infection
- Also called asymptomatic HIV or clinical latency
- Virus is active but reproduces at low levels
- May not have symptoms or get sick
- Without medication, the chronic stage can last a decade or longer, but some progress faster
- With medication, people may never move beyond the chronic HIV stage
- Virus is still transmissible
- People with AIDS have severely damaged immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to other infections
- May have a high viral load and be very contagious
- Without treatment, AIDS can be deadly
Is HIV treatable?
HIV cannot be cured but can be managed with treatment. HIV treatment consists or antiretroviral therapy given via shots or pills. This therapy lowers the amount of HIV in your blood, lowering your overall viral load. If you have an undetectable viral load, you cannot transmit HIV through sex and your transmission risk through needle sharing likely decreases.
What happens if I don't treat my HIV?
Leaving HIV untreated damages your immune system, which significantly increases your risk for developing AIDS, getting sick and transmitting HIV to your partners.
You should seek treatment for HIV as soon as you are diagnosed.
How do I prevent HIV?
You can prevent transmitting HIV by reaching an undetectable viral load through treatment.
If you do not achieve an undetectable viral load, other prevention options can reduce the likelihood of transmitting HIV to your partner(s). PrEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) medication, using condoms during sex and never sharing needles, syringes or other injection equipment help prevent HIV transmission. These actions are appropriate even if you have an undetectable viral load. If you are sexually active it is important to schedule STI testing on a regular basis to help reduce the spread of HIV.
Mycoplasma genitalium (MGEN) is a sexually transmitted, self-replicating bacteria found in the genitourinary tract (urinary and reproductive systems). Often, patients with MGEN are asymptomatic.
How is MGEN spread?
Mycoplasma genitalium is spread through genital-to-genital contact with an infected person, such as vaginal or anal sex. Transmission can occur without penetration. Using a condom decreases transmission risk significantly, as condoms reduce direct contact between genital tissues.
How do I know if I have MGEN?
MGEN often presents with no symptoms. Asymptomatic transmission is possible, highlighting the importance of STI testing. MGEN testing samples are collected via a urine sample or genital swab and tested for presence of the bacteria.
Symptoms may include:
- Watery discharge from the penis
- A burning sensation or discomfort when peeing
- Discharge from vagina
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex or between periods
- Pain in pelvic area below the bellybutton
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Even if you are not showing symptoms, regular STI testing can assure you are not infected and risking transmission to your sexual partner(s).
Is MGEN treatable?
For the most part, yes. MGEN can be resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics, like penicillin. However, there are many other antibiotic treatments that have been successful in treating MGEN, depending on patient circumstance. A doctor or medical professional will discuss your situation with you to determine the best plan for treatment.
What happens if I don't treat my MGEN?
MGEN is highly unlikely to go away without treatment, as it is a hardy bacterium that evades the immune system’s defenses. Undiagnosed or untreated MGEN can lead to more severe health problems like:
- Urethritis (swollen urethra)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to fertility problems
- Cervicitis (inflamed cervix)
- Epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of testes and epididymis)
- Sexually acquired reactive arthritis
How do I prevent MGEN?
You can prevent getting or transmitting MGEN by consistently using condoms or dental dams during sex. You also reduce the likelihood of getting MGEN by being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a person who has tested negative for MGEN.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact. In 1957, syphilis was nearly eliminated and the infection rate for syphilis reached a historic low in the years 2000 and 2001. Despite previously low numbers, syphilis has made a resurgence across the United States.
How is syphilis spread?
Syphilis is spread through direct person-to-person contact with a syphilitic sore, called a chancre. These can occur on or around the penis, vagina, anus, rectum, lips or mouth. Syphilis can be spread by having anal, oral, or vaginal sex with someone who has syphilis. It can also spread to an infant from an infected parent during pregnancy or childbirth causing congenital syphilis.
How do I know if I have syphilis?
A syphilis infection typically happens in a progression of stages that can take place over a series of weeks, months or years. The four stages of a syphilis infection are the primary, secondary, latent and tertiary stages. The only way to know if someone has syphilis is to be tested for syphilis.
During this stage a chancre (usually a round, hard, painless sore) will appear on the location where the syphilis infection entered the body. The chancre will remain on the body for 3–6 weeks and heal on its own with or without treatment. If a person with syphilis does not receive treatment, they are still infected even if the chancre has healed.
- Secondary Stage
- The secondary stage of a syphilis infection typically begins with the development of a rash. These rashes:
- Can appear where chancres are healing or have healed
- Usually do not itch
- May appear rough, red or reddish-brown on palms or bottom of feet
- May be faint or difficult to notice
- This stage can also cause large, raised, gray or white lesions on different areas of the body. Additional symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Weight loss
- Patchy hair loss
- Latent Stage
- This stage of infection is also called the “hidden” stage because this period of infection has no visible signs or symptoms. At this point, a person with syphilis can be infected for many years until they receive treatment.
- Transmitting syphilis to others is rare in the latent stage. However, testing and treatment will prevent a person from developing tertiary syphilis.
- Tertiary Stage
- The tertiary stage is also called neurosyphilis. This is a rare condition that can develop 10-30 years after the syphilis infection began. Tertiary syphilis can cause severe health conditions affecting different internal organ systems in the body. This can include the nervous system, the ocular system, the auditory system, and the circulatory system. Tertiary syphilis can be fatal in extreme cases.
Is syphilis treatable?
Yes! Syphilis is treatable with antibiotics. Depending on what stage of syphilis a person has, whether or not they have symptoms, and the results of their titer test will determine their treatment method. Typically if the syphilis infection is in the earlier stages, less treatment is needed. It is important to be open with healthcare providers when discussing syphilis infections so they can recommend the best treatment option.
How do syphilis tests work?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection. When a person is infected with the syphilis bacteria, their body will produce antibodies as a response. Antibodies are the body's defense system, working to fight off infections. As they work against the bacteria, antibodies build up in the blood stream. Current syphilis tests use titers to measure the syphilis antibodies in blood, not the actual syphilis bacteria. Antibodies will stay in a person's blood even after the syphilis bacteria is gone.
A titer is the measure of antibodies present in the blood. After a syphilis infection has been treated with antibiotics, a titer will go down and remain at a lower number than the original test before treatment. This means the treatment worked and there is no longer syphilis bacteria present in the body. The titer number will stay low for a long time and might even go to zero if an individual is not re-infected with syphilis bacteria. If the titer goes back up at any point, this means there has been a reinfection that will need to be retreated for syphilis.
How do I prevent syphilis?
You can prevent getting or passing syphilis by consistently using condoms or dental dams during sex. You also reduce the likelihood of getting syphilis by being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a person who has tested negative for syphilis.
Trichomoniasis, or “trich,” is a common and easily treated STI caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Only about 30% of people who contract trichomoniasis show symptoms.
How is trichomoniasis spread?
Trichomoniasis is spread by having vaginal sex without a condom with a partner who has the infection. It is uncommon to develop trichomoniasis in body parts such as the hands, mouth or anus. Someone with an asymptomatic case of trichomoniasis can pass the infection to others, emphasizing the importance of routine STI testing.
How do I know if I have trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis presents with no symptoms in about 70% of people who contract the infection. In those who do show symptoms, they can appear within 5 to 28 days after becoming infected.
Symptoms may include:
- Itching or irritation inside the penis
- A burning sensation or discomfort after peeing or ejaculating
- Discharge from penis
- Itching, burning, redness or soreness of genitals
- Clear, white, yellowish or greenish vaginal discharge with a fishy smell
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Trichomoniasis cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms alone, and you will need an exam and lab test to confirm infection.
Is trichomoniasis treatable?
Yes! Treatment with medication can cure trichomoniasis. A doctor can assist you with accessing medication to treat trichomoniasis.
You can be reinfected. About 1 in 5 people develop trichomoniasis within 3 months of receiving treatment. To avoid reinfection, your sex partner(s) should also receive treatment for trichomoniasis when you do. You should avoid having sex until you and your sex partner(s) complete treatment and test again 3 months after completing treatment.
What happens if I don't treat my trichomoniasis?
Leaving trichomoniasis untreated can increase your risk for contracting or spreading other sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
How do I prevent trichomoniasis?
You can prevent getting or passing trichomoniasis by consistently using condoms or dental dams during sex. You also reduce the likelihood of getting trichomoniasis by being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a person who has tested negative for trichomoniasis.