L.A. County Targets Sexual Health of Minorities, Gays
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is launching a $1.3 million public health campaign urging men who have sex with men, and black and Hispanic women to be tested for sexually transmitted infections, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Sixty-seven percent of the 30,000 women with chlamydia and 65% of the 5,000 women with gonorrhea were blacks or Hispanics, county officials said. Syphilis rates for MSM in Los Angeles County increased by 365% between 2001 and 2005.
About half of the campaign's budget will be allocated to an advertising campaign that will provide information on drink coasters, murals and sidewalk chalk art (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 6/26). The funding will cover the cost of the campaign for one year, but county health officials hope funding will be renewed if the ads are proven to be effective (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/27).
Jonathan Fielding, director of the county health department, said the effort is intended to reach "people who are not going to be watching mainstream television or reading the newspapers."
The remaining funds will go toward hiring additional staff to handle the expected increase in people being tested and to locate the sexual partners of people who test positive for STIs, a step that is required by law (Los Angeles Times, 6/26).