Reaching homeless youths for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae screening in Denver, Colorado

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Background and rationale:The availability of urine based testing for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) provides a unique opportunity to screen for these pathogens outside traditional clinical settings. The researchers investigated the feasibility of street based CT/GC screening in the context of an outreach programme among street/homeless adolescents in Denver.Objectives:To describe the integration of urine based CT/GC screening into an existing outreach programme among street/homeless youths and the yield of CT/GC testing in this setting.Methods:The Denver Department of Public Health (DPH) collaborated with outreach staff from Urban Peak (a community based organisation serving street/homeless youths in Denver) to offer urine based CT/GC testing to males and females in street settings. Tests were conducted on the street in areas where street/homeless youths congregate.Results:Urban Peak outreach staff were trained by DPH staff to conduct CT testing, process urine specimens, and provide test results to participating youths. DPH remained responsible for treatment of people with CT or GC infection as well as CT/GC case reporting. CT testing started in January 2000; GC testing was added in July 2000. Throughout April 2002 a total of 414 CT and 302 GC tests were conducted, respectively 11.6% and 2.7% of which were positive. Among first testers, 13.0% were positive for CT and 3.7% for GC.Conclusions:CT/GC urine testing can be incorporated into existing outreach programmes without considerable extra effort. Overall CT rates were high and suggest the need for ongoing screening in this manner.Learning objective: To understand the role of CT/GC screening in the context of services provided to street/homeless youths in outreach settings.

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