The state of Illinois is ending many of its free sexually transmitted disease testing services used by county health departments and a number of family planning facilities, including several Planned Parenthood clinics.
Under the changes, announced in August and effective this Monday, the Illinois Department of Public Health's testing services for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV will stop, meaning affected health departments and family planning facilities will now have to pay for the tests.
A spokeswoman for the state's public health department told The Southern Illinoisan that the STD testing changes are part of an effort to improve lab service efficiency and not due to the Illinois budget impasse.
"Testing for STDs can be done at just about every private/commercial lab," the spokeswoman told the newspaper. "Private and commercial labs will also be able to provide test results more quickly."
Miriam Link-Mullison, head of the Jackson County public health department, is one public health official who is concerned over the state's changes to STD testing.
"It is a particular burden for us to now have to pay for the tests because we are required by the state to do the program," Link-Mullison told the newspaper. "We're struggling to keep our doors open."
The state's STD testing changes come during the fourth month of the budget stalemate as Democratic legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner remain at odds over a spending plan for the fiscal year, which began on July 1.