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STI, other screenings available in Texarkana

by Mallory Wyatt | June 23, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Local organization Engaging Arkansas provided a range of health testing Thursday at Smith-Keys Village Apartments on Thursday, along with

The screeners, working along with Arkansas Minority Health commission and Special Health Resources, tested for syphilis, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and BMI.

Community Health worker Bobby Pierce said five people showed up in the first hour of the event.

"Five people is phenomenal," Pierce said. "With helping people, the important thing to know is your (sexually transmitted infection) status."

According to Pierce, Engaging Arkansas provides testing, education and support to those who need it.

"We are partnered with Special Health Resources on the Texas side and Our Care on the Arkansas side to get those individuals services," Pierce said. "We do have a support group that currently meets once a month for the HIV positive community."

Additionally, Engaging Arkansas provides transportation for medical services, as some of their clients don't have vehicles.

"They give us a call and we'll arrange for one of us to pick them up or we'll call an Uber to take them to their appointment at no cost to them," Pierce said.

Pierce said for those who fear stigma around STIs, Engaging Arkansas takes a nontraditional approach to ensuring comfort for their clients.

"We come to environments like this (Smith-Keys Village Apartments) where people need it," Pierce said. "Or if someone wants to be tested and they just don't want anyone around, they can make an appointment with us and they can come to our facility or we can come to them so they can feel comfortable."

Pierce said the stigma of STI is unavoidable but that Engaging Arkansas tries to remove the barriers.

"STIs don't discriminate," Pierce said. "It doesn't matter what your nationality is, if you're gay, straight, it doesn't matter what your socioeconomic level is."

Engaging Arkansas is planning on having an event in Texarkana in August to discuss health disparities with the public.

Print Headline: STI, other screenings available in Texarkana

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