Philadelphia Teens Receive STD Education, Testing at Local Recreational Centers
Responding to "disturbingly high and rising" STD rates among Philadelphia teens, the Pennsylvania Health and Recreation Departments have begun a joint initiative to educate, test and treat adolescents for STDs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Since the spring, more than 500 young people under age 24 have received free testing for chlamydia at 11 city recreation centers. Those who test positive are referred to local health clinics, or in some cases may be treated at the rec center through a single dose of oral medication. The Health Department has recently expanded the program to include screening for gonorrhea at rec centers with the use of a new federally approved urine test. Between 1995 and 2000, the rate of chlamydia rose 44% for city teens between the ages of 15 and 19, a 400% increase among teen males, and the rate of gonorrhea rose by 18%, nearly 100% for males. The Inquirer reports that both diseases can damage reproductive organs and lead to infertility if untreated (Giordano, Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.