Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Nationally, chlamydia positivity among 15-19 year old males and females continues to be higher in this cohort than in the general population. Cities across the United States are successfully implementing high school screening programs to screen this at risk population for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The questions addressed are: can a state program serve as a facilitator and partner in providing sustainable screening services to local school districts, and; how would a state in partnership with a local health department (LHD) undertake such a task?
To describe the implementation process for a voluntary high school STD (chlamydia/gonorrhea) education and screening program that is supported by a state STD program in collaboration with a local health department and school district.
The York City School District was selected for the implementation of the high school education and screening program because of its access to a supportive local health department, available resources for follow up and treatment, and the extent of the local chlamydia/gonorrhea disease burden. York City had the 3rd highest chlamydia case rate in the Pennsylvania project area in calendar year 2006. The IPP surveillance system reported 12.47% chlamydia positivity in York City for15-19 year olds.
To date, 330 students at York High attended STD peer education sessions, and 57% (188 students) submitted urine specimens. The high school administration said that the overall response from students and parents was positive.
The York City School District has agreed to expand the screening program to include not just 9th graders, but students in 10th through 12th grade.
Through effective cost-management measures that utilize a data-driven decision model and that develop strategic partnerships, state STD Programs can successfully assist LHDs in the implementation of a sustainable chlamydia and gonorrhea high school screening program.