SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- "Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, among warriors and the community in which they live, have probably existed since antiquity.

In Hawaii, chlamydia and the human papillomavirus (HPV) are the most common infections, but among service members the rates are much higher." said Lt. Col. Meryia D. Throop, nurse scientist, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC).

-- Services expanded

With STI on the rise among the military active duty population, Army Public Health Nursing (APHN) at Schofield Barracks has expanded its services, implementing a walk-in STI clinic that provides confidential screenings, testing and education to those who believe they may have been exposed to STIs, but are apprehensive about requesting assistance through their unit providers.

The walk-in clinic was conceived through the U.S. Army-Hawaii (USARHAW) Community Health Promotion Council (CHPC) process when it was reported that rates of STIs among USARHAW service members are higher than Army rates and three times higher than the national rate and that service members often wait until they have symptoms before seeking help.

The goal of the clinic is to reach a greater number of individuals as early as possible to minimize contact exposure, ensure immediate referrals to providers for those who test positive and require treatment, and provide prevention education.

"We tend to see an increase in STIs when service members return from deployment, leave and even long holiday weekends. If you have placed yourself at risk by having unprotected sex, it is important to get tested," said Lt. Col. David A. Cervantes, chief, APHN, TAMC. "Many infections may not cause any symptoms or physical changes, but you can still be infected and spread the infection to others."

Patients will be referred to their providers if initial screening reveals that they are symptomatic or if they test positive for an STI. Patients who are asymptomatic and test negative for STIs will be provided guidance and education from APHN with a goal to increase patients' knowledge of preventive measures, reduce high-risk behaviors and minimize exposure to STIs.

(Note: Linda Bass is the health promotion officer for USARHAW.)

-- U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks

The STI clinic is located at the Schofield Barracks Health Clinic in Bldg. 681A and is open to all TRICARE beneficiaries, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-3:30 p.m., and on Friday, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.

Prospective patients can reach clinic providers at (808) 433-8677 or by calling or texting the APHN cell phone number at (808) 224-9840. Prospective patients are encouraged to call prior to visiting the clinic.

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