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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CALIFORNIA: L.A. Gives Home Test Kits for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea


Associated Press (09.20.11) - Thursday, September 22, 2011

Los Angeles County health officials are expanding a $2.5 million STD testing initiative whose "self-service" approach is unique. Eight kiosks in South Los Angeles will allow females under age 25 to discreetly access swab testing kits for gonorrhea and chlamydia. One week after the specimens are mailed to a lab, the results will be available online or by telephone; free treatment and follow-up counseling are available if needed.

The county hopes the "I Know" campaign will cuts costs and reduce STDs. Thirty-six STD clinics served residents in 1996, but today there are only 12, said Dr. Peter Kerndt, director of the county's STD program. "We want medical services to be available all the time, but with clinic closures we had real reason to be concerned," he said. The county will spend roughly $26 per patient on the kit and lab work - far less than the cost of a visit to a traditional clinic, said Jorge Montoya, the program's director of outreach and control.

Los Angeles County leads the nation in the number of chlamydia cases and is second in gonorrhea. The highest concentration of cases for both is among young minority females on the city's south side, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, county public health director.

The kiosks build on a program that launched in June 2009, which allows females to order the kits online or by text message. County data show that 2,927 kits were ordered in the program's first year, with just more than one-half returned. About 8.5 percent of campaign testers were positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea or both, a rate higher than that seen in many clinics serving young women. Kerndt said around 95 percent of those who test positive follow up and access treatment.


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