Background: Gonorrhea is a reportable sexually transmitted disease caused by the Neisseria gonorrhea bacterium. In Maine, gonorrhea cases increased from 96 cases in 2008 to 456 cases in 2012. In 2012, 42% (n=194) of statewide cases were in Androscoggin County, at a rate of 180.64/100,000 population, which exceeded the statewide rate (34.48/100,000 population) by five times. The majority (64%, n=125) of cases in Androscoggin County occurred among females.
Methods: In 2013, Maine CDC engaged in a community based response to raise awareness about gonorrhea, promote and publicize new treatment guidelines for health care providers. A Health Alert Notice was released in December 2012 to promote treatment guidelines among providers. We conducted venue-based outreach at 65 retail and health care venues using social marketing materials that were developed to promote prevention and testing messages. We presented to community and health care workers at five sites in Androscoggin County to raise awareness and promote revised treatment guidelines. We also utilized social media and targeted advertising to highlight testing venues and promote awareness.
Results: From January through June 2013, 1400 social marketing materials (1000 palm cards and 400 posters) and 5000 condoms were distributed to outreach settings. Between January 1 through September 30, 2013, 202 cases were reported statewide which reflects a 38% decrease from 326 cases reported from January 1 through September 30, 2012. Between January 1 through September 30, 2013 69 cases were reported in Androscoggin County, which reflects a 51% decrease from 143 cases reported in from January 1 through September 30, 2012.
Conclusions: Maine CDC and partners conducted extensive public health action throughout Androscoggin County from January 2013 through June 2013. The decrease in reported positive gonorrhea cases suggests these outreach and awareness raising efforts may have contributed to the decline in the incidence of gonorrhea cases.