Frequently Asked Questions

Children's Special Health Care

Yes. Children’s Special Health Care Services helps many families that are not receiving any other assistance from the government.  Program eligibility is based on your child’s chronic health condition, not on how much you make.  A financial assessment is completed taking into account your family size and your out-of-pocket expenses. A small percentage of families pay a small monthly fee, but the vast majority pay nothing for help from this program.

Call the Children’s Special Health Care Nurse at 989-758-3896 who will consult with you either over the phone or in person.  She will discuss your concerns, give recommendations, and help refer your child to the right specialists to identify what his/her diagnosis is and how to treat it.

Family Planning Services

Yes.  No information will be released to anyone without your written permission.

No.  Payment is based on your income.  This is usually much less than you would pay at the doctor's office.  Depending on your income, you may only be asked to make a donation. 

Anyone interested in family planning services.

You should plan 1 to 2 hours for an exam.  Other services will take less time.

Our staff includes a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, registered nurses, and experienced clerical and technical support staff.  There are also physicians who provide services at selected sites.

Yes.  Please make this request when scheduling your appointment. 

General Questions

The Health Department has a medical advisor, and some screenings (e.g. blood lead, vision /hearing) or physical examinations are performed in our Family Planning and STD clinics.  However, our staff does not provide physical examinations for general medical needs, e.g. work, sports, or school physicals. If you do need help with finding a physician or assistance with medical health insurance questions, we may be able to help with referral to services within the Health Department or other community agencies/resources.

The Health Department offers assistance with information on head lice and other communicable diseases.  

Pamphlets are available under Pamphlets and Brochures

Helpful websites:   

The Health Department offers free pregnancy testing for those women who have done a home pregnancy test with positive results and have need for verification purposes to obtain insurance or WIC services. Early and regular prenatal care is important in ensuring the best outcome of a healthy mother and healthy baby. A public health nurse offers education for these clients and assists with early entry into prenatal obstetrical care, as well as utilization of Health Department services related to maternal-child wellness as needed. Information on all options related to pregnancy outcome is offered. 

Helpful website:

The Health Department gets many requests for speakers and participation in health fairs/community events each year and welcomes the occasion to have staff representation in the community. Community events offer the opportunity to educate the public on our services or on certain public health issues. To get the best possible match for your group’s needs, all requests of this nature should be directed to the Health Promotions and Communication Department at 989-758-3805.

The Community Resource Nurse is a Health Department liaison to the schools and community by offering information on health topics as needed for staff and students in school districts where there is no school nurse. The Community Resource Nurse also works closely with the nursing staff in districts with school nurses. The Health Department offers assistance on communicable disease information, including recommended periods of exclusion for certain communicable diseases. In most cases, your regular health care provider should be consulted for examination, diagnosis, and treatment. The Health Department can provide referral for health care services if you do not have a regular provider.

Pamphlets are available on the Pamphlets and Brochures page.

All routine tuberculin (TB) skin testing (PPD testing) is done through the immunization department (Room 109). The test must be read 48-72 hours after testing is done for results to be valid. The Community Resource Nurse will read the test in Room 312 by feeling the site where the test was given on the arm for any raised area or swelling called induration. Redness or bruising at the site is NOT a sign of a positive test result. A positive skin test does not necessarily mean there is tuberculosis disease, but this result does warrant further assessment. If there is no induration present, the Community Resource Nurse will give the client a NEGATIVE TB TEST card to provide verification for the source requesting the testing.

Helpful website:

The Health Promotions and Communication Department (Room 301) offers a wide variety of pamphlets in the areas of communicable disease, medical conditions, environmental health, substance abuse, immunizations, and family planning. A limit of 10 pamphlets per person is allowed.  The Community Resource Nurse can supplement information with data from the Internet or resources found within other divisions of the Health Department or agencies in the community.

There are several locations in the Saginaw community that offer blood pressure screening

The Community Resource Nurse can provide referral to support groups in the community in a variety of areas related to life experiences or disease processes.


The Saginaw County Department of Public Health uses the HIV Rapid test method.  A small amount of blood is usually taken from a finger and is screened for HIV.  This test takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The testing can be done either confidentially or anonymously.  Counseling is always done in person, both before and after the testing.  Counseling is done in order to help the client understand the factors that put them at risk for getting the virus.

A positive HIV Rapid test means you may be infected with HIV.  If the Rapid test is positive, a confirmatory test will be done to verify the presence of HIV.  Occasionally a positive Rapid test is inaccurate due to other conditions so the confirmatory test is done to verify the presence of the HIV virus.  Confirmatory tests can take up to two weeks to complete.  An appointment will be made with the client to return for the test result.

No.  A positive confirmatory test means you have become infected with the virus.  Some people who have tested positive for HIV have gone on to develop AIDS while others have not yet developed AIDS.  It may take several years to develop AIDS, especially if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and make behavior changes.  Also, if you have the HIV virus, early medical treatment can help delay or avoid the development of AIDS.  The Saginaw County Health Department can make referrals to health care providers in the area who specialize in HIV care.

Although it is very possible to get the virus from having sex with someone with HIV, this is not always the case.  Using condoms correctly each and every time you have sex can help reduce the spread of HIV.  Also, if a person with HIV takes medication to reduce the viral load (the amount of the virus in the body) they also reduce the chances of spreading the virus.

It takes a minimum of 15 days after a possible exposure to tell if a person has the HIV antigen.  Having the HIV antigen indicates a very early HIV infection.  Our tests look for both the HIV antigen and HIV antibodies.  Having the HIV antibody indicates a person has an established or less recent infection.  Detecting the virus very early can help a person get into medical care earlier which can lead to a much healthier and longer life.  

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:


Local reactions (swelling, redness, and soreness) where the shot was given can happen. Usually this can be relieved with a cool wet cloth and/or a non-aspirin pain medication such as Tylenol.  Call your healthcare provider for the right dosage for your child.  Encouraging your child to move the arm and/or leg where the shot was given (exercise) is also helpful in preventing stiffness that can sometimes happen after getting a shot. Other reactions (fever, rash, joint aches and stiffness) are less common.  These types of reactions may not be seen until 10-14 days after getting a shot.  A non-aspirin pain reliever is helpful in reducing the fever and stiffness.  An anaphylactic reaction is very rare.  Difficulty breathing, wheezing, and pallor are signs of this type of reaction, and it is most often the result of an allergy to the vaccine or vaccine component.

MCIR stands for “Michigan Care Improvement Registry”.  MCIR is a nationally-recognized electronic statewide immunization registry that is accessible to both private and public providers.  Providers are highly encouraged to report adult immunizations to MCIR.  Providers are still required to report childhood immunizations to MCIR within 72 hours of administration.

It is best to return to the provider who gave your child his/her shots.  If this is not possible, the shot record may be found on the MCIR.  You may wish to contact your child’s school or the Board of Education in your child’s school district to determine if a shot record is on file there. You can get a copy of the MCIR shot record at your child’s healthcare provider’s office, or at the Health Department.

A Tb (Tuberculosis) skin test is a screening test used to see if a person may have been exposed to the germ that causes Tuberculosis (a lung disease). A small amount of clear liquid (purified protein) is placed under the top layer of skin on the left forearm.  It will then look like a small welt (“wheel” or “bump”).  This small bump under the skin will usually fade within a couple of hours.  It is important that you return to the clinic within 48-72 hours after the test is done, so your arm can be checked for signs of a positive reaction.  You will be given a card as proof that the test was done, and the result of the test (“read”) at this time. A Tb screening test is available at all SCHD Immunization Clinics, with the exception of St. Charles Health Center. The cost of this testing is $15.00.  Only Medicaid insurance is accepted at SCHD for this test.  All others will be charged $15.00.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease.  STDs are infections spread through sex or intimate contact with an infected sex partner. The germs causing the infections prefer to live and multiply in the sex organs (penis and vagina), but occasionally can be found in the mouth or rectum (butt) after having oral or rectal sex.   STDs are dangerous infections that can cause long term damage to a person’s reproductive system, heart, bones and brain if not treated.  STDs are not spread on toilet seats or through casual contact (i.e.; hugging, kissing, shaking hands, etc.) with a person, even if they are infected.

Many people with STDs have symptoms but some do not.  Some infections may not show symptoms for months or years while others may show symptoms within days.  Common symptoms in women include: unusual discharge or odor from the vagina, pain in the lower abdominal (belly) area, burning or itching around the vagina, unusual vaginal bleeding or spotting, pain deep inside the vagina during sex.  Common symptoms in men include: pain, discharge,or dripping from the penis.  Symptoms seen in both men and women include:  sores, bumps or blisters around the sex organs, mouth or rectum; burning or pain during urination (peeing), itching around the sex organs, swelling in the groin; swelling or redness in the throat; flu-like symptoms with fever, chills and aches.

If you have any of the above symptoms, especially if you have a new sex partner, have multiple (more than one) sex partners or your sex partner has other sex partners, you may be infected.  GET TESTED!  Most STDs can be detected by testing a sample of urine, discharge from the penis or vagina, or by taking a blood sample.  The Saginaw County Health Department STD Clinic can test for gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and HIV.  Women can also be tested for trichomonas.   Unfortunately, trichomonas is very hard to detect in men but we do provide treatment referrals for all sex partners exposed to any of the above infections.

Yes and No.  Condoms can protect against some STDs if used properly and used every time you have sex.  Unfortunately, some infections are spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact and sometimes condoms break.  Still, condom use is very important, especially if you or your sex partner have multiple sex partners, but remember condoms are not a guarantee against infection.

There is a cure for some STDs but not others.  Infections caused by bacterial-type germs are curable with antibiotics.  These infections include gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis.  On the other hand, infections caused by viruses are not.  Viral sexually transmitted infections include herpes, HIV and human papilloma virus (ie: HPV or warts).  There are medications used to help keep viral infection symptoms under control but they do not kill the germs that cause the infection.  Therefore, symptoms may reoccur in the future.

For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disease facts and information website: