- Associated Press - Thursday, June 8, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi’s State Department of Health will begin charging for STD and HIV tests.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/2sRkNZt ) starting July 1 the department will charge a $25 fee for the testing. It’s a result of legislative budgets cuts, and comes while Mississippi suffers from sharp rises in STDs.

In 2015, the latest numbers available, more than 500 people were diagnosed with HIV in Mississippi. Data collected from the health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 2013’s nearly 300 syphilis diagnoses rose to 821 cases in 2016.

Hattiesburg-based Southern AIDS Coalition executive director Kathy Garner says the move is puzzling and disappointing. She says her agency provides free HIV screenings.

Health department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot said Thursday people 18 and under will still receive free screenings as would those identified as contacts of an STD or HIV case.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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