Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Richmond, Va., Uses Drama, Mobile STD Testing Unit to Combat High STD Rate
Richmond, Va., health officials are supporting a local college's play about a man with AIDS and joining forces with state officials to reduce the number of sexually transmitted disease cases in the city, the
Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Rose Singleton, acting human services manager at the Richmond City Department of Public Health, said that becoming a sponsor for a Virginia Commonwealth University play that educates audience members about AIDS is one of a number of strategies the city is using to draw attention to and fight STDs. According to federal health statistics released earlier this year, Richmond has the highest rate of gonorrhea among U.S. cities, and it "ranks near the top" among per capita cases of chlamydia. This spring, local and state officials are implementing an "intensive" STD testing and outreach program. A Virginia Epidemiology Response Team Unit of five state health workers use a mobile unit to test, treat and counsel residents about HIV and STDs. The mobile unit allows health care workers "to intervene in [STD] cases much more quickly" than they could if they waited for people to visit clinics, Robert Johnson, coordinator of the state health department's STD outbreak response efforts, said. So far, the team has tested 51 Richmond residents for diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV by traveling through locations that, either anecdotally or statistically, have a high number of residents with STDs. According to city administrator Michael Welch, five to 10 years of "intensive outreach" may be necessary before there are "significant decreases" in the number of STD cases in the city (Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/15).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.