The Adams County Health Department Nurses celebrated Nurses Week by rolling out a new mobile unit to test for sexually transmitted diseases, prevention and treatment.
"Since the separation from Tri-County Health Department, we are building the whole department and programs from scratch, said Michelle Wilson, Adams County Health Department Harm Reduction Department public nurse.
"We are now in the position to see what will work and will not work, and we hired Ellen Velez, the Harm Reduction associate manager, and have hired more staff."
Wilson said they are purchasing a mobile unit to conduct sexually transmitted disease testing going from place to place in Adams County four times a week. The mobile unit will travel between Brighton and Federal Heights and will be free of charge
"With the mobile unit, we'll be able to exchange syringes, give out clean needles, offer education and do testing for (sexually transmitted infections) and HIV, and hepatitis C. We can also discuss if people are interested in getting into treatment," Wilson said.
In addition, the nurse can help people with medication if they think they may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis C and get them on a treatment program with medicine to prevent HIV.
Wilson said that while they're out in the field, they will be putting the word out about the free Narcan and training for overdose prevention and also test for fentanyl.
"The public has access to not only Narcan but fentanyl testing strips to test for drugs," Wilson said. "Overdosing on fentanyl is happening to everybody and everywhere, it's not just people you suspect it happens to. It's an epidemic. Everyone needs to know about it."
Susan Keithley, Adams County nurse manager for Sexual Health and Harm Reduction, said they are developing mobile program to ensure that they are consistently in areas where the community needs assistance.
"We want to ensure we are putting the word out about Narcan in the fentanyl testing strips. We are also doing the syringe exchange because we want to prevent infection. It's why we're doing HIV and syphilis testing," Keithley said.
Keithley said the goal is to offer sexually transmitted infection kits to help decrease the risks of transmission no matter how it's passed along.
"We are out there to support the community and if they're ready to get into treatment, were there to help them get into treatment as well," Keithley said.
In addition, to the mobile unit, they are in partnership with the Adams County Sexual Health Clinics. The Sexual Health Clinic they are doing the same services as the mobile unit, testing chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis testing and also doing rapid and confirmatory HIV testing with condom distribution. In addition, it offers other services such as Pap smears and mammograms.
The clinic accepts Medicaid, CHIP+ and other insurance. Service fees are on a sliding scale based on income.
Adams County Sexual Health Clinics located at 1401 W. 122nd Westminster are open from Monday- Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Open Fridays, 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. The other clinic is at North Broadway, 7000 N. Broadway Ste N109.
To make an appointment or for more information, call 303-363-3018.
"We are hoping as we get our mobile unit going, that we'll be able to bring treatments with our mobile unit. It has been one of the largest barriers to care besides financial or lack of health insurance being un-housed and not having transportation," Keithley said. "If we're able to bring all our service, we can treat people where they are."