STD Prevention Programs Make ‘Medical, Economic Sense,’ Opinion Piece Says
Participants at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference in Philadelphia this week have "taken important steps toward breaking the culture of silence that often hinders our society's response" to sexually transmitted diseases, and the information shared at the conference "merits attention from everyone concerned about America's health," John Douglas, director of CDC's Division of STD Prevention, writes in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece. Researchers meeting in Philadelphia discussed "innovative" strategies to reduce the number of STD cases, "save money and help people hardest hit by these infections, including teenagers and young adults," according to Douglas. He cites Philadelphia's STD prevention programs as "a fine example" for the rest of the country. He continues, "We would make great strides if more cities could follow Philadelphia's lead by launching coordinated efforts among health departments, medical providers, advocacy groups and government to address STD prevention with strategies appropriate for each community." According to Douglas, resources could be "quickly leveraged to mount awareness, screening and treatment programs" because STD prevention "makes both medical and economic sense." He adds that the overall "human and financial burden is so enormous that even small reductions in new infections can lead to considerable reductions in health consequences and treatment costs." Douglas concludes, "The full price of inaction on STD prevention is not paid in dollars but in the health of the country," adding that it is "now up to public health officials and local communities to continue this momentum by developing and implementing innovative strategies to reduce the burden of STDs in our country" (Douglas, Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.