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This morning, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Health will launch a program that provides free, in-home STI testing kits by mail:

The program is aimed primarily at black and Latina women below the age of 25, who make up a disproportionate number of those infected, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, who directs the county health department.

The new program uses technology familiar to younger women to try to remove those barriers, Fielding said by telephone. Women of any age can use the service, but parental consent is required for girls younger than 12.

Women can order tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea through the “Don’t Think Know Home Test Kit” website or by calling (800) 758-0880, officials said today. The tests will be sent to their homes to be take n in private and the results will be processed by the Public Health Laboratory. A cellphone text message will then be sent to remind the women to collect the results online or by phone one week later.

Schweitzer Fellows are also using innovative approaches to tackle high STI infection rates — and other health issues — among L.A.’s at-risk populations: 

  • Cianna Leatherwood (USC Med) will be providing health education on sexually transmitted illnesses and drug and alcohol use to homeless youth in the Hollywood area.
  • 2009-10 Fellows Saskya Byerly (USC Med), Kimberly DeQuattro (USC Med), and Kristen Gregory (USC Med) will conducting a comprehensive education and mentoring program targeting high risk young women in the East Los Angeles area.  They will reach out to young women at high risk for teen pregnancy, assist and educate those already pregnant, and provide support and parenting skills to young mothers.
  • Lynne Chang (UCLA Med) will implement an outreach-based syringe exchange program for homeless injection drug users in Los Angeles, as well as work to improve delivery of health services and and education to that population.