Background: STD prevention services offered by health departments have been changing in the recent past. A 2009 survey found reductions in staffing and services during 2008-2009, but no surveys have been conducted since then. Understanding the current level of STD services provided and what changes have occurred recently helps in assessing what STD prevention needs are being met by the public sector.
Methods: In December, 2013, e-mail invitations for an online survey were sent to 311 local health departments (LHDs). Health departments with a city, county, or other sub-state region jurisdiction were defined as local. LHDs were drawn from a list of LHDs indicating that they provided STD screening or treatment in a 2010 national profile of health departments (total n=1225). The response rate was 47.6% (n=148 LHDs). Responses were weighted for population size, Census region, and non-response to be representative of the 1225 LHDs offering STD screening or treatment in 2010.
Results: Of LHDs indicating a primary point of care for referral for STD services, 21.1% referred patients to a specialty STD clinic; 29.5% and 24.6% referred patients to a combination STD/family planning clinic or a general public health clinic, respectively; 4.5% replied that they do not refer patients for STD care. As part of their main clinic STD program, 53.3% and 48.5% of LHDs offered hepatitis B and HPV vaccine, respectively; 14.8% and 58.5% offered stat (on-site) RPR testing and extra-genital testing for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, respectively; 57.6% offered walk-in care. 14.1% and 13.3% of LHDs reduced clinic hours or screening in their 2011-12 fiscal years, respectively; 13.1% reduced partner services for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea; 38.5% of LHDs indicated that they made no cuts to their STD programs.
Conclusions: This survey shows that gaps exist in current STD prevention services and that many programs have reduced services recently.