Public Health Officials in Calif. Combat STIs Using Technology-Based Tools
Public health officials in California are using new technology tools to combat rising rates of sexually transmitted infections, HealthyCal reports.
According to state officials, new cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in California increased byÂ 7% from 2009 to 2010.
Schools and county health departments are targeting use of the tools in areas affected most by STIs, includingÂ regions that often are underserved.
Sex Education Computer Program
Two dozen Los Angeles middle schools are implementing the "It's Your Game: Keep It Real" tool, an animated computer program that allows students to explore how fictional characters face realistic sexual situations. The program's goal is to delay sexual activity until at least the ninth grade.
Emily Chung -- project coordinator for the program in the Los Angeles area -- said communities near the Los Angeles school district have high rates of teenage chlamydia, gonorrhea and pregnancy.
Studies by the University of Texas, which developed the program, have shown that the program reduced the start of anal sex by 66%, oral sex by 50% and vaginal sex by 29%.
Youth Text Messaging Tool
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has worked with Oakland-based Internet Sexuality Information Services to launch a text messaging service that aims to combat STIs.
Through the program, called HookUp, individuals ages 15 to 24 can receive information on reproductive health and STI testing locations.
The service has more than 3,000 subscribers.
Online Site for Ordering Testing Kits
In addition, Los Angeles County is targeting women ages 12 to 25 with the "I Know" STI testing kit.
Women can order the kit online and send in vaginal swabs to be tested. They can receive test result alerts by email, text message or both.
Testing Program for Men Who Have Sex With Men
Health officials in San Diego County are using the "We All Test" program in an effort to reduce syphilis cases.
The program focuses on men who have sex with men and allows individuals to sign up for text and email reminders to be tested for STIs.
More than 1,200 people have registered for the service (Perry, HealthyCal, 10/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.