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St. Louis health officials hope new website will help prevent spread of HIV

Enrollment for Missouri Medicare begins Tuesday and lasts until early December.
Susannah Lohr
St. Louis Public Radio
A new website that pulls together information about sexually transmitted infections is more visually oriented than other St. Louis municipal resources.

St. Louis health officials launched a website this week that will improve access to HIV testing and treatment.

Information about services offered by the Health Stop Testing and Referral Center, located in the municipal building at 1520 Market St., is now compiled for easy reference on the web at HealthStopSTL.com.

“I think it's hard to navigate a city's webpage that has literally hundreds of different pages,” said Dr. Mati Hlatswayo Davis, the city's health director. “I’m really excited to have a one-stop shop for folks to have accessible, up-to-date information.”

Services at the Health Stop center include free testing for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In 2019 the city’s health department began participating in the national Fast Track Network, which aims to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. Hlatswayo Davis is co-chair of Fast Track-STL.

HealthStopSTL.com is more visually oriented than web pages for other city services. It includes maps to help users find locations where testing for sexually transmitted infections is available and where condoms are sold. It also has information on PrEP, a medication that reduces an individual’s chance of contracting HIV.

The clinic also offers take-home HIV tests, funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s literally all the tools you would use and need to know. We put them in the hands of the people,” said Tyrell Manning, program manager at Health Stop for HIV/AIDS prevention.

Health officials hope enhanced communication efforts will encourage more Black St. Louisans in particular to use available services, particularly with respect to discouraging HIV transmission.

“There is a disproportionate impact within Black communities, specifically for HIV and STIs in the city and quite frankly in the nation,” Hlatswayo said. “Unfortunately, with most health conditions you often see this disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities. And so if you look at the Health Stop’s new website, for example, you see that we've been thoughtful about images, about destigmatizing HIV.”

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.