Last year in the County of Los Angeles, 33,000 women were infected with Chlamydia or gonorrhea, and nearly one-fourth of all these sexually transmitted diseases were in South Los Angeles.
The consequences of untreated infections can be grave, resulting in chronic pain, infertility, life-threatening tubal pregnancies, and harm to infants born to mothers who are infected.
Our community must mobilize to safeguard our young people. Leaders from government, faith groups, medical and advocacy communities, as well as mothers and fathers, must empower young people to take control of their health and make wiser choices for this treatable problem.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has launched a $2.5 million-initiative that unites a comprehensive, community-oriented approach with cutting-edge technology to give youth the guidance and tools to make better choices regarding their physical, mental and sexual health.
The initiative incorporates six components:
The County will work with community-based organizations, medical providers, and religious ministries to engage youth to take control of their sexual health.
“I Know”: Screening is widely accessible through the County’s “I Know” home-testing program, in which trained community outreach workers use hand-held tablets to help women obtain STD testing kits.
“www.Dontthinkknow.org”: This website provides access to free STD home test kits, test results and access to free clinics for treatment.
Kiosks: Two kiosks, such as the one featured in this video, are now available at pharmacies located in Florence and Watts, empowering young women to input their own information and immediately obtain a home test kit from the pharmacy.
The expanded “I Know” program is promoted by a media campaign incorporating imagery and messages of empowerment and building confidence for young women.
Specially trained public health field staff, working in collaboration with community health providers, is ensuring proper treatment of infected individuals and their sex partners to stop the chain of infection.
School Level Programs:
The County is collaborating with the Compton Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts to deliver enhanced health education, a medical provider referral guide for youth, and school-based social marketing.
The County is using a wide variety of multimedia channels to raise awareness about these issues and working with local communities to develop and implement long-term prevention strategies.
For more information about the “I Know” program, click here.