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DOH-Orange Participates in a Clinical Trials Study to Improve Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening and Treatment for People Living with or at Risk for HIV

By Kent Donahue

November 07, 2018

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County (DOH-Orange) is proud to announce its participation with Rutgers University in clinical trials that will focus on improving Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) screening and treatment for people living with or at risk for HIV.

Rutgers was awarded grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), through their Special Projects of National Significance program. The three-year clinical trials study is a working partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Alachua and Bay counties. 

The clinical trials seek to explore interventions for STI transmission and which interventions work best for various population types.  Not only will the clinical trials benefit DOH-Orange in learning best practices for STI prevention and treatment, they are also timely due to the recent rise in both newly diagnosed HIV cases and STIs in Orange County.

Based on the available numbers, Orange County’s newly diagnosed HIV cases have jumped from 458 cases in 2016 to 512 cases in 2017.  STI numbers reflect a similar increase. From 2016 to 2017, Orange County Chlamydia cases had a 14.04 percent increase to 9,527 cases, and Gonorrhea cases rose 25.29 percent to 3,101 cases.

“DOH-Orange is very excited to have been selected by Rutgers as a participant in this study,” said STD Program Manager Willie Brown. “The knowledge gained from this study will help DOH-Orange improve prevention methods, education strategies, and get clients more personally involved in their care.”

Currently in the planning and development phase of the clinical trials, DOH-Orange will receive $250,000 each year of the three-year study as a clinical site.   

During the course of the study, the DOH-Orange clinical site will measure the effectiveness of peer-led interventions in HIV testing, linkage, and retention of care, and the utilization of Computer Assisted Self-Interview (CASI) for STI risk assessment in identifying high risk behaviors and thus lessening the time spent by the provider taking a sexual health history.

Like all clinical trials, patient information is kept completely confidential, all of the information gained from the success of this study will be used to further DOH-Orange’s mission to protect, promote, and improve the health of Floridians.

For more information, contact the DOH-Orange STD Program Manager Willie Brown at willie.brown@flhealth.gov or 407-723-4077.