UpFront Muskegon

In Muskegon County, the number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS cases has been on the rise. There is a lack of sex education in the area, and people are having trouble accessing the care they need. UpFront is a community-based coalition whose mission is to empower the community by providing STI/HIV education and awareness tools that encourage everyone to be upfront about their sexual health.

UpFront’s vision is to be Muskegon County’s go-to coalition for education and resources toward reducing the stigma and incidence rates around HIV and STIs by 2020. How will we make it happen? By increasing the sexual health knowledge base in as many area schools and organizations as possible, we can secure our community’s future. UpFront will combat the negative stigma related to HIV and STIs, enabling community members to feel more comfortable coming forward and getting tested. Together, we’ll make these goals a reality. It’s time to be upfront about sexual health in Muskegon County.


Respect. We believe in respect. We respect all people, their health, their opinions, their ideas, and their hopes for the future. Respect and fair treatment of all people is the foundation upon which UpFront is built, supporting each other and those we serve through their journey to healthy living. 

Inclusion. We provide assistance and resources to all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, current health status, or any other factor. UpFront is here to help anyone who may need them, no questions asked. 

Authentic. UpFront is genuine. We only say what we mean, and we do what we say we will. This commitment ensures authentic communication and information between us and those we serve, creating a balanced relationship based on trust.
Accountable. Our goals aren’t going to be easy to achieve, but we’re up to the challenge. We understand that in order to make these goals a reality, we need to hold ourselves accountable to them and to the people who come to us for assistance. If we work together and do our part, UpFront will be successful. 

Compassionate. We recognize and support each individual’s humanity and personhood. Addressing HIV and STIs can be both rewarding and heartbreaking, so we combat negative stigmas head-on by acting as living examples of compassion and understanding.


Local Learning & Awareness Events

To stay up to date with all of UpFront's upcoming events, visit our facebook page.

Please contact us if you are interested in being kept up to date with upcoming activities or have ideas for consideration.


HIV/STIs have no boundaries. They do not discriminate based on color, gender, sexuality, age, or economic status. It's time to rise up and do something about this epidemic.

We'll hit the streets to provide education and resources to as many people in Muskegon County as possible. We’ll use our resources to create informational material, distribute prevention resources (instructions included), and educate people on being safe. We’ll work with physicians to better instruct patients. We’ll do whatever we can to reach our goal.

Join the fight! Contact us to learn more about how you can get involved!


Why are STIs/HIV on the rise in Muskegon County?

As in any county, there are many factors that impact the health of our community:

•  Inadequate sexual health education
•  Stigma
•  Low perception of risk
•  Lack of insurance
•  Lack of symptoms
•  Fear
•  High poverty rates
•  Lack of resources for parents and healthcare providers
•  Preconceived notions about the Public Healthcare and Catholic Healthcare systems
•  Mental health and/or substance abuse issues

Together, we will work to reduce these barriers to improve our community's overall health and awareness.


There are sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that are caused from bacteria which can be treated and cured, but there are also STIs that are caused by viruses with no treatment for cure available. Learn the facts. MuskegonCounty has some of the highest rates of infection with STIs.

Common Bacterial Infections:
• Chlamydia can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s and/or a man’s reproductive system.

• 75% women and 50% men have no symptoms with chlamydia.

• You don’t have to have sexual intercourse to be infected.  You can be infected with chlamydia by having direct mucosal contact with infected sexual fluid.

• Gonorrhea can cause serious damage to the fetus of a pregnant woman and cause birth defects.

• You don’t always have symptoms with gonorrhea infection.

• You can be infected in the throat by providing unprotected oral sex.

• If infected without getting treatment, it can cause long term damage to your nervous system.

• You will need to have a blood test to see if you are infected. You may need to ask for this test.

• It is fatal and can cause death if not tested/treated.
Common Viral Infections:
Human Papilloma Virus
• It only takes skin to skin contact with someone infected to become infected.

• Most people infected are not aware they are infected.

• There is a vaccine to protect against 9 strains of HPV known to cause cancer.

Herpes Simplex I and II
• It only takes skin to skin contact with someone infected to become infected.

• The common cold sore is caused by Herpes Simplex I.

• Herpes Simplex I and Herpes Simplex II are transferrable. So if you are infected with Herpes Simplex I and provide unprotected oral sex, your partner can become infected on their genital area.
Pregnant Women and HIV
• If you test HIV-positive, you can still give birth to HIV-negative babies.

• Pregnant women with HIV receive HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

• Babies born to women with HIV receive HIV medicines for 4 to 6 weeks after birth.

• The HIV medicines reduce the risk of infection from any HIV that may have entered a baby's body during childbirth. 

• An HIV-positive mother can transmit HIV to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth (also called labor and delivery), or breastfeeding. 
• In 2012, gay, bisexual, and other MSM accounted for more than half (52 percent) of all people living with HIV in the United States.

• Recent data from the CDC indicate that new HIV diagnoses among MSM increased between 2008 and 2012, with the largest increase among young MSM.

• More than half of MSM reported not being tested for HIV in the past 12 months.

• Black MSM are disproportionately impacted by HIV,accounting for 30% of MSM living with HIV and almost 40% of new HIV diagnoses among MSM.
Youth and HIV
• In 2016, youth aged 13 to 24 made up 21% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States.

• Youth with HIV are the least likely of any age group to be linked to care in a timely manner and have a suppressed viral load.

• At the end of 2015, an estimated 60,300 youth were living with HIV in the United States. Of these, 51% (31,000) were living with undiagnosed HIV—the highest rate of undiagnosed HIV in any age group.

• In 2015, 100 youth aged 15 to 24 died from HIV disease.
Minorities and HIV
• Persons belonging to racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and/or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the United States, with higher numbers of infected individuals and higher HIV/AIDS–related death rates.

• In 2016, African Americans accounted for 44% of HIV diagnoses, though they comprise 12% of the U.S. population.

Stigma, fear, discrimination, and homophobia may place many African Americans at higher risk for HIV. Also, the poverty rate is higher among African Americans than other racial/ethnic groups. The socioeconomic issues associated with poverty—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection and affect the health of people living with and at risk for HIV. These factors may explain why African Americans have worse outcomes on theHIV continuum of care, including lower rates of linkage to care and viral suppression.

• African American males have 8.6 times the AIDS rate as white males.


They’re all ready to help you any way they can.

The places listed below can help you get tested, learn more about STIs, or find prevention resources.

  • Mercy Health Prevention Practices    
    1700 Clinton St., Muskegon, MI 49441
    (clinic entrance on Larch Street)
  • Public Health of Muskegon County    
    209 East Apple Ave., Muskegon, MI 49442
  • McClees Clinic    
    1700 Clinton Street Muskegon, MI 49442


Contact us with questions, or for more information on getting involved!

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