Background: Schools provide the best possible setting to conduct chlamydia/gonorrhea (CT/GC) screening and remove barriers youth face in accessing health care. Other jurisdictions have successfully implemented testing programs. Urine collection removes the need for a medical exam and makes it easier for youth and schools to participate. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) STD Program had attempted, in various school districts, to collaborate with school staff to conduct school screening for CT/GC. Obtaining school district buy-in proved to be very difficult.
Methods: In 2015, through the work of the local Disease Intervention Specialist, county health department staff, and a Planned Parenthood Health Educator, IDPH was able to facilitate a school screening at Burlington High School in conjunction with an annual school health fair. Thirty minute educational presentations were held and students (grades 8 – 12) were given the option to be tested for CT/GC after the presentations. Testing was confidential. Based on the success of the first year, a second event was held in 2016.
Results: We were successful in providing testing and education in a high school setting with buy-in and support from school administration and personnel, parents, and the community. For the combined two-year period (2015-2016), we provided 118 tests to youth aged 14 – 19. There were 10 CT positives for a rate of 8.5%. Sixty-eight (68) tests were provided to males (four positives) and 50 tests to females (six positives). In addition, six partners were treated.
Conclusions: The health fair proved to be a safe, non-stigmatizing venue for testing. Working with individuals at the local level made it easier to garner support. We identified infections and were able to treat youth that may not have otherwise sought testing. By having these data and the health fair model, we may be able to successfully pursue testing in other school districts.