TEMPLE — With the restoration of funding for women’s health programs in Texas, the Bell County Public Health District now has the opportunity to see more clients for sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, birth control refills and pregnancy testing.
“The hours of the Temple and Killeen clinics are the same, but we’re now able to see more clients,” said Nina Cobb, outreach education coordinator for Bell County Public Health District.
The district wants the additional services to be used so the programs will remain available to the women in Bell County, Cobb said.
In February, free STD testing will be offered in Bell County Public Health District walk-in clinics in Temple and Killeen.
The tests include HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The tests are available from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Temple clinic, 509 S. Ninth St.
In Killeen, the tests are performed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 309 N. Second St.
STDs are a significant health challenge facing the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STDs occur every year in the United States, half among individuals ages 15 to 24. Each of these infections is a potential threat to an individual’s immediate and long-term health and well-being.
Young men and women are heavily affected by STDs — but young women face the most serious long-term health consequences, according to the CDC. It is estimated that undiagnosed STDs cause 24,000 women to become infertile each year.
The health district also offers walk-in immunization clinics through the Texas Vaccines for Children at its Temple and Killeen sites for qualified children. This includes children with Medicaid.
Immunization clinics in Temple are open from 7 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays. In Killeen, children’s immunization clinics are open from 7 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays.
A limited supply of adult meningococcal shots is available for $20 to individuals with no insurance. Call the clinics for details: Temple, 254-778-4766; Killeen, 254-526-8371, Option 6.
Interpreters are available on-site.
“We have a friendly staff and very qualified nurses and practitioners who are ready to see patients,” Cobb said.