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Detroit offers free health screenings, wellness activities for public health week

Detroit — With syphilis rates surging in Michigan and across the country, the Detroit Health Department is offering free health screenings for the virus all week, along with HIV, and screenings for several other wellness measures at eight locations across the city.

The screenings, which are part of Public Health Week, are free of charge, regardless of insurance status, and no appointments or identification methods are required, said Denise Fair Razo, Chief Public Health Officer for the city of Detroit.

“Syphilis is really high in our community — in fact, in the last I believe 90 days, we have seen an uptick in syphilis cases,” Razo said.

Jenny Waugh, a physician detailer with the Detroit Health Department, speaks with PA Amy Davisson about the prevalence of and testing methods for syphilis on Friday, Feb.  23, 2024 at Bloomfield Medical Center in Detroit.

Detroiters can also receive confidential blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and kidney function checks as well as testing for HIV.

Syphilis, once on the verge of being eradicated in the United States, has spiked across the country over the last five years. Experts point to a number of reasons for the uptick, including stigma associated with the sexually transmitted infection, access to health care and funding being siphoned off to other health priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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