Apr 3, 2023 - News

Planned Parenthood expands STI testing across more of California

The blue Planned Parenthood logo is seen on a grey, brick building of a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center.

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte health centers, which serve patients from Oakland and South San Francisco to San Jose, has implemented a new testing system for sexually transmitted infections (STI) that seeks to improve and speed up results.

Why it matters: The in-house testing will help low-income and uninsured patients get faster treatment, which reduces their risk of serious illness, pregnancy complications and HIV infections.

Driving the news: Planned Parenthood partnered with BD, a global MedTech device company, to develop the system, which began in the fall and officially announced last week.

  • With one swab, the BD system can detect the three most prevalent non-viral STIs that cause chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.
  • Officials say the new system can get more accurate test results to nearly 1,000 patients in 24 hours.

Context: The three-in-one swab is "super convenient," says Gloria Martinez, senior director of operations for Planned Parenthood Northern California, a separate network that runs the San Francisco clinic, and which has been using the system for the past year.

By the numbers: San-Jose based Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is the largest affiliate in the country with 33 health centers in California and one in northern Nevada.

  • 65% of patients live below the federal poverty level.
  • 78% use Medicaid or some equivalent.
  • 46% identify as Hispanic.

What they’re saying: Laura Dalton, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s chief medical operating officer, said improved testing is critical for tackling the STI epidemic.

  • "If we can take our patient population that has been disproportionately impacted, and give them equitable access to gold standard testing and rapid turnaround and treatment, then we can help start closing that health equity gap,” she told Axios.

Of note: April is STD Awareness Month.


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