STD Awareness Month happens once a year, but STD Community Intervention Program coordinators work year-round

by Rosemari Ochoa, San Diego SCIP Coordinator 

Yesterday I received a call — a local peer education program director wanted more information about how to answer questions regarding STDs and racial disparities from a Forum I recently coordinated.  In the meantime, my call waiting flickered with another request. Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties was preparing a presentation for over 1,000 local community leaders and needed local, state and national STD data.  Within a few minutes, I was able to identify what they were looking for and link them with the resources they needed. As the STD Community Intervention Program (SCIP) Coordinator for the County of San Diego, I think that’s the easy part of my job. 

The STD Community Intervention Program (SCIP) has been a State of California-funded program since 1999 that aims to reduce the incidence of STDs among youth. To accomplish that goal, SCIP builds the capacity of local organizations serving youth to integrate STD prevention into their programs and services. So, what does this mean for community based organizations, schools, and other groups interested in reducing STD rates across the State?  It means that in many counties in California, you have someone you can contact with expertise about STDs information, education and materials — not just during STD Awareness Month, but year-round. 

As funding for STD prevention gets tighter and tighter, leveraging the amazing work of programs that already provide services in at-risk communities can be effective STD prevention. And SCIP tries to do just that.  For example, from July 2008–June 2009, I presented to 1,521 service providers on STD prevention, epidemiology, testing, and treatment.  Those presentations were tailored to meet the needs of each agency. For example, peer mentors learned how to answer difficult questions about STDs and clinic staff learned about minor consent laws for STD testing and treatment. Now, they can be the experts not only in their fields, but they have a strong working knowledge of what it takes to prevent STDs. 

Other SCIP activities included launching, in July 2008, a San Diego County-specific page on the website http://www.inspot.org, which provides information about STDs and helps people notify sex partners of an STD exposure, and organizing the CORE conference on teen sexual health in June 2009 that attracted over 25 participating organizations and nearly 300 attendees.  This year, on Thursday, June 17th, CORE is aiming to be better than ever.  Consider submitting a proposal for arts/cultural programming or a workshop and find more information here

So, whether it’s a data request call on a Tuesday morning or a daylong workshop or something in between, SCIP coordinators across the State work every day to ensure that people working in local communities have the tools they need to help prevent STDs.  

For information on San Diego SCIP, please contact the County of San Diego SCIP coordinator, Rosemari Ochoa, at rosemari.ochoa@sdcounty.ca.gov or (619) 293-4744. For more information on SCIP programs throughout California, including getting in touch with your local SCIP Coordinator, please contact scip@cdph.ca.gov.

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