Let the people say, ‘Amen!’

An unusual new partnership is underway in Los Angeles. County health officials and many church leaders have teamed up to fight the growing numer of STD infections in the city through the “I Know” campaign.

Several pastors and their first ladies, who are usually hesitant to speak up about preventing STD by means other than abstinence, are joining the city in promoting an at-home testing program.

The new program aims to combat the growing number of STD cases in the city and dwindling number of free clinics due to budget cuts. Los Angeles ranks first in the nation for numbers of  new chlamydia cases and second for gonorrhea cases, and many of those affected live in South Central Los Angeles. Moreover, Black women ages 15-24 are disproportionately affected by both diseases, which could lead to infertility if left untreated.

According to the Los Angles Times, the new program would increase access to free testing. The LA Times reports:

“Women will be able to order home testing kits online or through kiosks to be placed initially in pharmacies in the 2nd Supervisorial District and added later at community centers and schools. Peer counselors and outreach workers also will have hand-held tablets and be able to register women for the tests and distribute them on the spot. The test takes less than a minute and women can get their results by logging onto the website or calling a toll-free number.

The expanded outreach at schools, clinics and churches is expected to have a wide impact, said Dr. Peter Kerndt, who directs the county’s sexually transmitted disease program. ‘This is not only STD prevention,’ he said. ‘It’s pregnancy prevention. It’s HIV prevention.'”

Health officials hope that by partnering with school, churches, and the community, the spread of STDs can be stopped within the community.


*photo courtesy of the LA Times

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