Background: Gonorrhea (GC) rates in South Los Angeles account for 40% of all cases in Los Angeles. Timely partner notification and treatment is essential to reducing further STD transmission, however the practice of partner management varies among clinical sites. Innovative, effective approaches are needed to address timely partner management for this population.
Methods: The Los Angeles County Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP) worked in collaboration with a community clinic to hire a Community-Embedded Disease Intervention Specialist (CEDIS), aimed at notification and treatment of partners. The CEDIS played a central role in STD prevention at the clinic. Building upon this successful model, California Family Health Council (CFHC) collaborated with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) and DHSP to pilot a similar project in South Los Angeles.
Results: In September 2012, CFHC hired two CEDIS to work with multiple clinics and community-based organizations located in South Los Angeles. Their role was to follow up with all GC- positive patients to ensure proper treatment, and identify their sexual partner(s) and networks. Since that time, the CEDIS have interviewed 260 positive GC cases, and initiated follow-up interviews with 159 of their sex partners or members of their social network. In addition, the CEDIS have worked with community partners to leverage existing efforts and to link non-traditional partners from various sectors with the Los Angeles STD control plan.
Conclusions: This project required institutional changes in clinic policy and practice specifically designed to reach partners of diagnosed STD patients, such as fast tracking appointments and improved quality of patient interviews, which were crucial to the effective integration of the CEDIS at clinic sites. In addition, creating and maintaining relationships with community based health centers was vital to the CEDIS’ work. Combining practices from these effective community-based models has improved STD Prevention and Control efforts in South LA.