Arizona health official works to inform people of their STD status
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In order to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it's important for individuals to inform their sexual partners that they may have been infected with an STD and they need to get themselves tested. Recently, TriValley Central, an Arizona news source, published an article profiling Darrel Johnson, a community health specialist for Pinal County Public Health Services, who works to track people down who may have an STD and encourage them to seek treatment.
Johnson gets lab reports on county residents who test positive for an STD and calls to inform them that they need to be treated for the infection. Afterward, he asks them who they have had sex with in the past few months, so he can encourage them to go to STD testing centers in Arizona. Johnson spoke to one man who had been diagnosed with syphilis, who gave him the names of 37 other men who may be at risk.
"We ask a lot of questions, pretty intimate and detailed questions," Johnson said, quoted by the news source. As for this particular case, he added, "I think out of that I was able to get 12 or 15 out of that 37 in for testing, which is statistically pretty amazing."
The information provider added that on any given day, Johnson handles about 20 to 25 cases of STDs.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, young people, racial/ethnic minorities, and men who have sex with men, bear a disproportionate burden of STDs in the state. The number of chlamydia cases reported in Arizona in 2010 was nearly 900 cases higher than 2009, and there was no decrease in gonorrhea cases between 2010 and 2009. These numbers highlight the need for more effective STD prevention strategies in Arizona.
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