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Oregon: Testing Urged in Fight Against STDs

May 27, 2009

Medford is pulling together local and national resources to encourage area young people to get tested for STDs. Local television stations are airing spots funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation and MTV as part of a national STD testing campaign. The ads, which feature healthy-looking young people, in groups and in couples, conclude with this straightforward message: "Respect yourself. Get tested. Call Planned Parenthood."

The ads publicize a toll-free number (1-800-800-7526) that will automatically take the caller to the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic. "It doesn't matter where they call from," said Paul Robinson, director of community relations in the Medford office for Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. "They'll always be connected to our nearest clinic."

The STD tests themselves are offered at no charge, courtesy of $21,000 in grants from the Spirit Mountain Indian Tribe Foundation, Lane County United Way, Pacific Source Foundation, and private donors.

The campaign targets the most common STDs, such as chlamydia. Statewide, Oregon reported 1,517 cases of chlamydia in 2008 for every 100,000 people ages 20-24. "The numbers tend to go up year after year," said Tom Harger, Oregon STD program manager in the Department of Human Services. Assessing the true number of cases is difficult since chlamydia often lacks symptoms, he said.

According to CDC, one in every four American girls between the age of 14 and 19 is infected with one of four common STDs: chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, trichomoniasis or human papillomavirus. CDC's 2008 estimation found the most common were HPV (18 percent) and chlamydia (4 percent).

Robinson said that even before the campaign, local Planned Parenthood clinics were working to reduce STDs. Of the 1,700 chlamydia infections diagnosed in Jackson, Josephine, and Lane counties in 2006, roughly 35 percent were identified at the agency's clinics.

Back to other news for May 2009

Adapted from:
Mail Tribune (Medford)
05.26.2009; Bill Kettler

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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