In an effort to curb gonorrhea and chlamydia outbreaks among young Black women in Los Angeles, county officials have joined forces with pastors and “first ladies” to promote an at-home testing campaign, The Los Angeles Times reports.
“Nobody wants to talk about it,” said Debra Williams, the wife of a pastor who preaches at McCoy Memorial Baptist Church. “We need to change that.”
According to a 2009 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Los Angeles County ranks number one for chlamydia cases and second for gonorrhea cases. In 2010, more than 45,400 chlamydia cases and 10,400 cases of gonorrhea were reported in Los Angeles County, according to the county’s Department of Public Health.
In a desperate attempt to combat rising rates, officials have led a public health campaign that will increase access to free tests and information through three touch-screen computer kiosks and a mobile health van, according to the Times.
Women will be able to order home testing kits online or through kiosks. When a woman takes the test, she can log on to the website or call a toll-free hotline to get results. Outreach workers will have hand-held tablets to register women who need the test and distribute them on the spot.
“This is not only STD prevention,” he said. “It’s pregnancy prevention. It’s HIV prevention,” said Peter Kerndt, who directs the county’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) program.
The CDC recommends yearly screening for sexually active women 25 and under.
“This is probably the first time you have pastors and first ladies coming forward to address an issue that heretofore has been considered taboo,” he said.