The Cook County Department of Public Health will hold a free Sexually Transmitted Infection testing this week. The event comes several months after public health officials, along with a range of community leaders, met in Maywood to discuss the high STI rates of Proviso Township young people.

The event will offer free gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV testing on Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Cook County Department of Public Health, 7556 Jackson Blvd. in Forest Park.

Last summer, the health department released the Annual Sexually Transmitted Infections Surveillance Report. The report, which comes out every two years, is based on cases from 2014 to 2016.

Forest had one of the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis infections in all suburban Cook County, according to department of health data. 

The village had between 490 and 883 reported cases of chlyamdia per 100,000 people. The 2016 chlamydia rate for all of suburban Cook County during the same time frame was 461 per 100,000 people. 

Forest Park had between 97 and 237 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 in 2016. That year, the gonorrhea rate for all of suburban Cook County was 113 per 100,000. Forest Park also had at least 18 cases of primary- and secondary-stage syphilis—double the average rate across suburban Cook County. 

Last October, around 22 representatives from 13 different agencies from a range of sectors, including healthcare, government, education, faith-based and workforce development, attended a discussion about the data held in Maywood.

County officials explained that the testing event is particularly targeted to young people, ages 15 to 24. No insurance is required to get tested at no charge and no appointment is necessary. During the day, officials will raffle off gift cards.

Contact CCDPH via phone (708) 836-5455 or email with questions.

Michael Romain