NCSD's associate director of government relations Taryn Couture delivered the following comments to the CDC/HRSA Advisory Committee (CHAC) on May 15, 2019 on NCSD's recommendations for the STI Federal Action Plan
Good afternoon, my name is Taryn Couture, I am the Associate Director of Government Relations for the National Coalition of STD Directors. I am speaking to you on behalf of our membership, the 65 states and localities funded by the CDC Division of STD Prevention. Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the first ever STI Federal Action Plan. This plan comes at a time when the United States if facing STI’s that are at an all time high and continuing to worsen. We expect that this plan will be a roadmap for the Federal Government’s response. It will provide goals, objectives and measurable standards across all Federal agencies and within DHHS.
My comments today are the result of work being done by a group of our members. I will present our thoughts on goals, objectives and activities which we feel must be taken into consideration when developing this plan.
In our view, these epidemics are so widespread and are increasing at such rapid rates, that there is no one action or sector that can stem this tide. All aspects of the healthcare and related systems must play a role. Barriers to preventing, finding and treating these diseases in the areas of funding, regulations and societal attitudes must be identified and eliminated.
I will start with some of the broader goal areas for consideration, and these include:
In addition to these broad goals, key components that our members identified as essential to the development of a successful plan include:
In the area of surveillance
In the area of Expanding STI Screening
In the area of Improving STI treatment
In the area of engaging the Healthcare system
In the area of research
In the area of reducing disparities
Finally, some additional comments, at a time when there are almost 1200 infants born in the country with Congenital Syphilis, a totally preventable disease. It is time to implement congenital syphilis review boards, which review each CS case and identifies missed opportunities for prevention, and opportunities for follow-up actions and system level changes, in all states. Unfortunately, we are at the point now where most states have at least one case of congenital syphilis and the numbers continue to rise. We must also increase pre-natal testing, correct treatment and follow-up. We must develop strategies to deal with women who for a range of reasons to not receive pre-natal care but are infected with syphilis.
These are just a few of the suggestions that we have heard from the national STI prevention community. At the foundation of a Federal STI Action Plan are the existing STI prevention programs who are on the front lines of STI prevention around the country. We look forward to providing more detailed suggestions in writing by June 3 and thank you for this opportunity