Washington, DC – NCSD commends NASEM for issuing a comprehensive, forward-thinking vision of STD prevention and care. The report argues effectively for a broader sexual health approach to STD prevention and care; rightly acknowledges the central role of structural racism and inequality in driving STD rates; and embraces the full array of necessary solutions, from new federal public health investments to the creation of new medicines.
“The NASEM committee is saying what we in the field have long known: that STDs cannot be tackled in isolation,” said David C. Harvey, NCSD Executive Director. “For individuals, STDs are best addressed in the context of their broader sexual health. For our nation, lowering record-high STD rates requires rebuilding our broader public health infrastructure, which has been weakened through decades of under-funding and disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“To make a better future possible, we need immediate federal action today. President Biden should work with Congress to rebuild STD programs and invest in public health staff who have worked heroically to protect the nation through crisis.”
NCSD is calling on the Biden Administration to aggressively implement the new National STI Strategic Plan, which the NASEM committee acknowledged in its announcement today. With full backing from the Administration and Congress, the plan could help substantially reduce STD rates and rebuild public health capacity at the federal, state, and local levels. NCSD is also calling on Congress to increase funding (to $272.9 million) to the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and to establish a $500 million funding stream to sustain the nation’s specialty STD clinics.
The recently passed American Rescue Plan is an essential step in the right direction, providing $7.7 billion to expand the nation’s public health workforce. NCSD calls on CDC to invest a significant portion of that funding to support and hire Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) and other staff on the front lines of infectious disease prevention.
The National Coalition of STD Directors is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight US territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate.