The findings and conclusions in these presentations have not been formally disseminated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Addressing Syphilis Elimination and HIV Control Through Funding Community-Based Organizations in Baltimore City

Sheridan Maxwell Johnson1, P. Burnett2, G. Olthoff2, and K. Robinson1. (1) Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA, (2) Baltimore City Health Department, Centers for Disease Control, Baltimore, MD, USA

Previous efforts to eliminate syphilis and control the spread of HIV lacked effectiveness due, in part, to the absence of meaningful collaboration between the Baltimore City Health Department's (BCHD) STD/HIV Prevention Program and community-based organizations (CBOs). Community members and public health officials met in 2000 to discuss how to remedy this problem. Suggestions eventually led to the idea of developing the Syphilis Elimination Project (SEP) Request for Proposals (RFP).

To present Baltimore City's SEP RFP process in assisting eligible and interested CBOs for the purpose of funding syphilis testing activities.

In preparing the RFP, surveillance data is used to determine the populations at-risk for disease infection. To be considered for funding, organizations must adhere to guildlines covering: 1) testing levels; 2) laboratory submissions; 3) active outreach; 4) STD prevention counseling; and 5) "ground level" contact with one or more identified at-risk populations. Proposals are reviewed by an independent review board, which includes an affected community member representative.

Since 2001, ten (10) CBOs received funds to conduct planned testing activities. Many organizations took advantage of syphilis/active outreach training offered by BCHD. CBO screenings identified new cases of syphilis and HIV, which otherwise would go undetected.

Awarding SEP funds to eligible CBOs proved successful in testing at-risk populations. CBOs are motivated to collaborate with local health departments when treated as equal partners.

Program statistics from each funded organization and/or changes to surveillance data resulted in RFP modifications each year. Offering periodic syphilis/active outreach training to CBO partners greatly enhanced STD knowledge and outreach techniques.
Future research and evaluation must monitor the success of CBO activities and programs in identifying new disease cases within target populations.