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Improving STD Screening Rates

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection, which mostly affects young adults. Chlamydia usually has no symptoms, so people often don't know they have it. All sexually active women younger than 25 should be tested every year, according to guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force. And the Centers for Disease Control recommend that everyone who tests positive for chlamydia should have a follow-up test 3 months later.  UC Berkeley student Aarti Kumar has been working with HRA Director of Research Dr. Susan Ivey on a project to improve chlamydia screening rates at a local public health clinic.   Ms. Kumar is now a new Cal graduate with bachelor's degrees in public health and molecular and cell biology. During the year she spent as an undergraduate research apprentice with HRA, Ms. Kumar and Dr. Ivey tracked chlamydia screening rates at the city of Berkeley's Ann Chandler Public Health Center.   This project involved monitoring the clinic's chlamydia screening rates for women younger than 25, as well as rates of retesting for all patients who tested positive. The team from HRA then suggested ways to increase screening rates, including automatically notifying healthcare providers when patients need to be retested.   Four months after making the suggestions, the HRA team found that rates of initial screening for women under 25 were about the same. But rates of follow-up testing for patients who tested positive went up significantly. The team hopes to keep monitoring chlamydia screening and rescreening rates at the clinic for all of 2017, and to conduct similar quality improvement projects in the future.

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Doctor counseling female patient
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