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Gay City announces plan to discontinue gonorrhea and chlamydia testing due to a cut in funding from King County
Gay City announces plan to discontinue gonorrhea and chlamydia testing due to a cut in funding from King County
[Editor's note: The Seattle Gay News received this press release immediately before printing and had no opportunity to contact Gay City.]

The new year brings changes in STD testing services at one local non-profit agency. Beginning in 2008, Gay City Health Project is no longer able to offer chlamydia or gonorrhea testing for its Gay and Bisexual male clients. The agency is unable to continue the service due to a cut in funding from Seattle/King County Public Health. Gay City will, however, continue to offer testing for HIV and syphilis at its Wellness Center.

"We're definitely disappointed to lose the service, and fought hard to maintain it," says Fred Swanson, Gay City's Executive Director. "We tested nearly 800 men for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia last year alone, and referred hundreds more with symptoms to a treatment provider. Ideally, this kind of testing should be offered with our other services, but that can't always happen when we rely on public funding."

Although curable and often perceived as less serious than other sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhea and chlamydia infect thousands of people in King County each year. This may be of particular concern among Gay and Bisexual men, considering the relationship between the presence of other STDs and the transmission of HIV. According to the Seattle/King County Public Health website, the connections between STDs and HIV include:

· Similar behaviors put people at risk for both HIV and other STDs
· The presence of an STD can make people more susceptible to infection with HIV
· People co-infected with HIV and another STD can more easily transmit HIV infection to others; and
· People with HIV and other STDs may have more frequent and serious symptoms related to those infections

"Because of the relationship between HIV and other STDs, it's important for Gay and Bisexual men to be checked out for gonorrhea or chlamydia if they think they are at risk," says Miles Glew, Health Services Manager at the agency. "While this testing is no longer available at Gay City, we will work with our clients to seek testing at a public health clinic or with their own physician."

Swanson emphasizes that Gay City will continue to offer testing for HIV and syphilis. "Our services are free, and available five days a week in both English and Spanish." Gay and Bisexual men seeking these tests are encouraged to call Gay City at 206.860.6969 or visit www.gaycity.org.

A Gay City press release

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