Talk | Test | Protect
A Campaign to Increase STD testing in Vance County
Jackie Sergent (far right), health promotion coordinator and health
supervisor for the Granville-Vance District Health Department, with Associate
Degree Nursing students from VGCC.
Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC)
Chlamydia is the most common STD across North Carolina. In Vance County, eighty percent (80%) of chlamydia cases occur in young adults ages 15–24. Because many individuals with an active infection experience no symptoms, they remain untreated.
To create an effective and integrated public health campaign about the dangers of going untested, the Granville-Vance District Health Department sought out technical assistance from the North Carolina Institute of Public Health. Together with the Institute and People Designs the health department created Talk |Test |Protect.
Campaign partners addressed multiple challenges in crafting a strong, sustainable campaign, including the effect of stigma on behavior, the ethics of mapping and using communicable disease data, and how to mount the effort in the midst of staff turnovers and limited resources.
The goal of the campaign was to increase testing rates. Using baseline maps found in the North Carolina Electronic Disease Surveillance System, they pinpointed critical target areas within the county.
To implement the campaign, the group secured funding from the Triangle North Healthcare Foundation, and tapped the energies of associate degree nursing students from Vance-Granville Community College.
Monthly Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Testing Count by County in Granville and Vance Counties
Data analyzed by Cary Cotton, MD-MPH candidate at the Gillings School of Global Public Health
Campaign tactics included an after-hours clinic kick-off, visits to local schools, classes, health providers and community groups and the creation of an easy-to-navigate website.
So far, the outcomes are encouraging. When comparing testing rates on days prior to and during the campaign, the results are statistically significant. The data suggests the campaign helped close the testing gap between Granville and Vance counties (right). Additionally, the jump in mean number of tests in one day occurred in October 2014 when campaign activity was at its peak.
Health department staff will present its final evaluation results and recommendations to the Granville-Vance District Health Department’s Board of Health this month. Tools and resources to replicate the evaluation components of this project are also being developed.
The upcoming edition of Essentials of Public Health Communication will include a summary of the campaign’s development from inception to outcome evaluation as a featured case study. Get more information about this project at Talk | Test | Protect and the Talk | Test | Protect Instagram.