The CDC NPIN Featured Partner resource offers HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB prevention-focused organizations a platform to showcase their services, programs, and materials. Our goal is to highlight the work of CDC's prevention partners and encourage partners to connect with each other to share information and strategies. Organizations are nominated by CDC or their peers, or are self-nominated. Those selected are featured on the NPIN Web site for the month.
The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD), formed in 1793, is the oldest, continuously operating health department in the United States. Since that time, BCHD has worked to improve the health and well-being of Baltimore City residents in partnership with agencies, health care providers, community organizations, the media, and funders. Disproportionally high rates of syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia present a major public health challenge. The STD/HIV Prevention program addresses this challenge with a multifaceted approach, including
- Partner services for syphilis and new HIV infections.
- Care referrals for HIV positive clients.
- Community outreach screening.
- Partnerships with community-based organizations and private medical care providers.
- HIV expanded testing programs.
The Health Department also operates two no-fee STD Clinics providing STD diagnosis and treatment and Ryan White HIV care.
Community Outreach Screening team out with the mobile unit for GYT testing
A dynamic component of the STD/HIV Prevention Program is the Community Outreach Screening Program. Operating from two mobile units, approximately 12,000 clients are screened annually for syphilis and HIV. Sites are selected based on social sexual network data obtained during syphilis and HIV partner services interviews, analysis of current epidemiological data by the surveillance unit, and participation in community events such as Gay Pride. The vans deploy to street corners and other neighborhood locations. Staff members canvas the area offering HIV and syphilis testing to all citizens encountered.
Conventional HIV blood tests and RPR syphilis testing is used with Western blots and FTA-ABS confirmation tests performed on all positive specimens. Clients call a dedicated phone line to receive results. All positive results are evaluated and immediate follow-up investigations are initiated by Disease Intervention Specialist or referred to care staff to ensure clients receive a medical evaluation, treatment, and care linkage.
Resources restrict the ability to routinely screen for gonorrhea and chlamydia through the mobile vans; however, in an effort to increase screening and awareness, gonorrhea and chlamydia screenings were offered in April in conjunction with National STD Awareness Month and the GYT Campaign (www.itsyoursexlife.com/gyt/). Gonorrhea and chlamydia testing was offered at Morgan State University and at the GYT "Take Action Tour" venue. Seventy-two clients were screened and 11 new chlamydia infections identified. In addition, the BCHD requested and was able to get Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to issue a proclamation recognizing April as STD Awareness Month in Baltimore.
These results, combined with significant increases in syphilis among youth under 25 years old, spurred an enhanced outreach effort through June 2011. Packages containing condoms and palm cards advertising the "iwantthekit" chlamydia and gonorrhea home test were distributed. Community outreach screenings by the BCHD resulted in 3,560 clients receiving syphilis tests; 3,186 clients receiving HIV tests; and over 1,000 condom/palm card packages being provided. An additional 10,000 condoms were distributed. Sixteen new syphilis infections and 18 new HIV infections were identified. The hospital emergency rooms participating in the HIV expanded testing program were also encouraged to offer syphilis testing to clients with preliminary positive HIV rapid tests at the time confirmation specimens are obtained. An additional two syphilis cases were detected from this activity. These results mandate the continuation of expanded evening and weekend testing through September.
Baltimore City Health Department, STD/HIV Prevention Program
1001 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
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