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July 23, 1997

It Takes a Community... to Lower the STD Rate

JAMA. 1997;278(4):272-273. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040026012

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REDUCING THE IMPACT of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) requires moving beyond traditional clinics and into the community, actively seeking out those who are at greatest risk—women and adolescents, the poor, migrant workers, drug users, and people who are incarcerated. That efforts to reach such groups along these lines can be effective is demonstrated by recent reports from a number of community-based programs specifically designed to reduce the incidence of STDs.

"When given adequate resources, these programs can be highly effective in providing STD information and prevention messages to people at risk," said Peggy Clarke, president of the American Social Health Association (ASHA), during a panel discussion on STDs held last month in Washington, DC. Four of the panelists, directors of community-based STD prevention programs, were cited as winners of a national competition held to recognize such programs, sponsored by 3M pharmaceuticals, St Paul, Minn. Clarke was one of the judges