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Jorge Montoya, Aaron Plant and Colleagues Publish an Evaluation of the I Know Home STD Testing Program in the American Journal of Public Health
1-17-2013

In January 2013, the American Journal of Public Health published the Field Action Report, “There’s No Place Like Home: First-Year Use of the ‘I Know’ Home Testing Program for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea." This paper is the first published evaluation of I Know, a program which was created and implemented by Harlan Rotblatt, Jorge Montoya, and Aaron Plant to detect and treat chlamydia and gonorrhea through a free STD home test kit. This program was designed to address the disproportionately high rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia infection among black and Latina women under age 25 in Los Angeles County. I Know was promoted by a large-scale social marketing and outreach campaign, and was the first in the U.S. to use free home testing as part of a health department’s overall STD control strategy.

I Know enables women to both order home test kits and retrieve their results online, thus reducing common barriers to getting tested, such as expense, hassle, and embarrassment. In the first year of the program, 2,927 home test kits were ordered and 1,619 specimens were returned with an overall positivity rate of 8.5% (7.9% positivity for chlamydia and 1.0% positivity for gonorrhea). This level of testing is 4 times the per-clinic average of 12 to 25-year-old females at 12 L.A. County Public Health STD clinics in the same period. Importantly, the program successfully reached target populations of African American and Latina women.

The I Know program has recently been expanded to include a “point-of-service” version which uses outreach workers with digital tablets to directly distribute test kits to young women in neighborhoods with the highest disease burden. In addition, the tremendous scalability of the I Know program is currently being demonstrated; Los Angeles County has partnered with several California counties and the California Department of Public Health to develop a portal enabling other jurisdictions to launch their own program at a small fraction of Los Angeles County’s original cost. By the end of 2012, the portal is scheduled to serve 4 counties with a combined population of nearly 16 million and can be readily expanded to include other jurisdictions both inside and outside of California.

The high usage of the I Know program, the high positivity rates, and the program’s intrinsic scalability show a strong potential for this model to be replicated by other health departments or even private health plans and used as a new tool for STD control. If you're interested in starting a similar program in your area, contact us.


Citation:

Rotblatt H, Montoya JA, Plant A, Guerry S, Kerndt P. There's no place like home: first year usage of the "I Know" home testing program for chlamydia and gonorrhea. American Journal of Public Health. 2013;103(8):1376-1380.

See our list of published academic articles.

 
 
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