San Diego's Hepatitis A epidemic isn't the only disease breakout confronting beleaguered county officials, belatedly scrambling to counter yet another incipient public health emergency.
"Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea in San Diego County are the highest recorded in approximately the last three decades," says a request for quotation dispatched February 1 by county purchasing officials.
"In 2016, the overall rate of chlamydia in San Diego County was 575 per 100,000 population." But cases are alarmingly up among young women. "The rate of chlamydia among females 15-19 years old was 2,352 cases per 100,000 population, and the rate of chlamydia among females 20-24 years old was 4,130 cases per 100,000 population."
Those numbers landed San Diego at seventh place on the Centers of Disease Control's list of top reported cases among counties for 2016, released last September.
To combat the burgeoning threat, the county is turning to Los Angeles, borrowing a web-based promotional and testing program soon to be carried out here. "Don’t Think, Know, a free chlamydia and gonorrhea home testing program for females aged 25 years and younger, was developed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in 2009 to reduce barriers to testing experienced among this high-risk age group," according to the document.
"The target population for this project is young females up to the age of 25 years old, living in San Diego County, with a special emphasis on African American and Latina females."
"Young women may order a test kit via the website Don'tThinkKnow or by calling a dedicated, warm telephone line. The kit contains sexual health information, a swab for a self-collected vaginal sample, and instructions on how to collect the sample. After sample collection, the user returns the sample to a reference laboratory for processing by placing it in a pre-paid envelope. The user may access their results securely on the website, approximately one week later, after receiving an e-mail or text message indicating that their results are ready."
According to a performance schedule accompanying the call for quotations, the successful contractor will be required to get an early start by choosing "appropriate online and social media platforms for Don’t Think, Know advertising and promotion within 30 days of contract execution." Billboards, bus shelter, and trolley advertising are to be included in the campaign.
An evaluation plan drawn up by the contractor "shall assess the marketing strategy’s effectiveness in promoting the Don’t Think, Know program (e.g., views, increasing kits ordered)," per the request, responses to which are due February 15. The program is scheduled to begin at the date of the contract award through June 30 of next year. Estimated costs were not provided.
"Don’t Think, Know supports the Live Well San Diego vision of Building Better Health, Living Safely and Thriving," per the document.
"Live Well San Diego, developed by the County of San Diego, is a comprehensive, innovative regional vision that combines the efforts of partners inside and outside County government to help all residents be healthy, safe, and thriving."