Pub­lic health de­part­ment out to curb STD spread

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Amanda Cuda

By law, health care providers must no­tify the state of spe­cific cases of STDs, in­clud­ing chlamy­dia, gon­or­rhea, syphilis and HIV.

HART­FORD — For those di­ag­nosed with a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease, it’s cru­cial to let cur­rent and for­mer part­ners know that they might have been ex­posed.

But that con­ver­sa­tion can be awk­ward at best, and po­ten­tially volatile.

To help al­le­vi­ate that anx­i­ety, the Con­necti­cut De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health has a con­fi­den­tial no­ti­fi­ca­tion process that will let an in­fected per­son’s past and cur­rent part­ners know they might have been ex­posed to an ill­ness — with­out pro­vid­ing the STD pa­tient’s iden­tity.

The state is pro­mot­ing the ser­vice through a new video cam­paign called #LeaveItToU­s.

The cam­paign video shows var­i­ous peo­ple awk­wardly at­tempt­ing to tell part­ners that they have an STD. The video then cuts to a woman ex­plain­ing, “You know telling them is the right thing to do, be­cause if they don’t know they have an STD, they won’t treat it. And they can get very sick.”

By law, health care providers must no­tify the state of spe­cific cases of STDs, in­clud­ing chlamy­dia, gon­or­rhea, syphilis and HIV. Once in­formed, spe­cially trained staff called Dis­ease In­ter­ven­tion Spe­cial­ists reach out con­fi­den­tially to the in­fected per­son and talk to them about their po­ten­tial part­ners who have been ex­posed and may be in­fected.

Staff then reach out to those part­ners on be­half of the pa­tient, main­tain­ing con­fi­den­tial­ity while an­swer­ing ques­tions, pro­mot­ing test­ing and treat­ment.

“We un­der­stand that hav­ing an STD can be scary,” says STD Con­trol Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor, Dr. Lynn Sosa in a news re­lease. “The mes­sage of the #LeaveItToU­s cam­paign is simple: Our staff is here to help make sure peo­ple are treated and as­sist in the process of telling their part­ners they should be tested too.”

Na­tion­wide, STDs have been on the rise for years. Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for the Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion, about 2.3 mil­lion cases of chlamy­dia, gon­or­rhea, and syphilis were di­ag­nosed in the United States in 2017.

In Con­necti­cut, there were 17,750 cases of chlamy­dia re­ported in 2017, up from 14,028 in 2016. There were 3,913 cases of gon­or­rhea in Con­necti­cut in 2017, up from 2,745 in 2016. Syphillis ac­tu­ally fell by one case, from 111 in 2016 to 110 in 2017.

De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health / Con­tributed photo

Still images from the state De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health’s new video cam­paign, #LeaveItTo us, which pro­motes the state’s con­fi­den­tial STD no­ti­fi­ca­tion process. The pro­gram will let an in­fected per­son’s past and cur­rent part­ners know they might have been ex­posed to an ill­ness — with­out pro­vid­ing the STD pa­tient’s iden­tity.

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