STD prevention is a dynamic field, and the present situation is full of both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, STD prevention programs have declining resources, eroding infrastructures, and increasing prevention needs. On the other hand, a growing array of new tools and prevention partners create unprecedented opportunities. Over the last decade, key strategies in national STD prevention goals have focused on four areas: prevention of STD-related infertility, prevention of STD-related cancer, prevention of STDs to decrease HIV transmission, and prevention of STD-related adverse outcomes of pregnancy. While these goals recognize larger consequences of STDs and remain critical organizing constructs for STD prevention, they do not address broader, non-disease specific issues that could enhance their success. Recently, the evolving policy and cultural context in the U.S. has created opportunities to face gaps and inefficiencies of our health system and to more openly discuss and address “sexual health.”
This session will focus on these larger issues related to health reform and sexual health. The dialogue around health reform in the U.S. raises many possibilities for STD prevention strategies that could improve population impact. Already, the vast majority of STDs are reported from non-STD clinic settings. If a larger proportion of the population had access to health insurance, the primary focus of public health could shift to promoting STD prevention in primary care settings and working with networks of state and local partners to assess and assure population coverage of these services. Parallel to this effort, a new STD prevention framework that emphasizes a broader, wellness-based approach to sexual health could help normalize dialogue around sexuality in this country, contribute to the reduction of STI transmission, and ultimately serve as a unifying concept for enhancing prevention and care for sexually-related health issues. Through analysis of these two broad-based issues, this session will provide a vision for the future of STD prevention.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010: 8:30 AM-9:30 AM
International Ballroom (M2) (Omni Hotel)