New initiative will support critical STD and HIV services for vulnerable Americans
For Immediate Release
Contact: Matt Prior, email@example.com, 570-878-3847
Washington, DC – The National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) today announced a first-of-its-kind program to help STD clinics nationally to improve and integrate the critical STD and HIV care and prevention services they provide to the most vulnerable Americans. With initial funding from Gilead Sciences, Reimagining STD Clinics for the Future will bring together STD prevention practitioners from public and private clinics across the country to share information and resources, identify and implement best practices, and ultimately, reduce epidemic levels of STDs and HIV in this country.
“STD clinics reach people no other providers can,” said David C. Harvey, executive director of NCSD. “They offer free or low-cost services for Americans who are most at risk for STDs, including HIV. Until now, we have suffered from not having a detailed national directory of STD clinics and the services they provide as well as mechanisms for them to network and exchange best practices.”
STD clinics diagnose one in five new HIV cases and one in four syphilis cases, in addition to other STDs. They are an indispensable part of the U.S. public health infrastructure and yet, are chronically underfunded and lack national visibility. Recently, Congress passed the first proactive measure to increase support for state STD prevention programs in 15 years, but this was a small victory amid a growing public health crisis. To help clinics maximize their impact despite limited resources, through the new program NCSD will compile, evaluate and share key data on clinic services, resources and best practices.
“STD clinics are an essential safety-net provider for some of the most vulnerable Americans,” said Cornelis Rietmeijer, PhD, MD, MSPH, an advisor to the initiative. “The network is absolutely crucial for STD and HIV prevention in this country, and this initiative will provide an opportunity for those of us working in STD and HIV prevention to learn from one another and improve services.”
The National Coalition of STD Directors will kick off the new initiative with a thorough assessment of public and private clinics – from location and infrastructure to billing practices and the range of services they provide. This initial survey will facilitate key additional program activities, including:
“We are deeply appreciative to Gilead for supporting this program,” said Harvey. “Without STD clinics, we can’t effectively end the STD or HIV epidemics in this country.”
NCSD is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based organizations across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight US territories. We advance effective STD prevention programs and services in every community across the country. For more information, go to ncsddc.org.