A Study of a New STD Home Testing Service 'I Know SF Bay' Launched in the San Francisco Bay Area

Study delivers STD home testing kit, results and prescription services to eligible Bay Area females

Woman reading mail

SAN FRANCISCO — The health departments from San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, in partnership with RTI International, today launched "I Know SF Bay," a study to determine the feasibility of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) e-health system for diagnosis and treatment.

This study will provide confidential STD testing in the Bay Area to the first 400 eligible women who respond. Women will have the opportunity to order a home testing test kit from the "I Know SF Bay" website (www.iknowsfbay.org) and have it shipped directly to their home. Women can test themselves at home, get results online, and receive treatment at a local Bay Area pharmacy.

Los Angeles County saw success after launching a similar campaign in 2009.

"This study will allow us to determine the feasibility of an e-health system that could potentially lessen the devastating impact that STDs can have on women's health by informing them of their conditions and helping them gain access to treatment," said Freya Spielberg, M.D. M.P.H., senior health scientist, RTI International and director of Research Mentorship at the Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center.

This study will be available to women 18–30 years of age in the Bay Area who are in need of an STD test. National recommendations are for all sexually active women 25 years and younger to have an annual STD screen.

"Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomonas are very treatable, but many people don't realize they're infected because symptoms are frequently non-existent," said Spielberg.

"Many women do not realize that they have an STD until they are hospitalized with a serious pelvic infection. Many others only learn of their infection when they have difficulty getting pregnant because their fallopian tubes were silently scarred."

Providing confidential home testing through an e-health program may allow more women to find out that they are infected and receive effective treatment before they experience any serious complications. Regardless of method, Spielberg said, it is critical that all sexually active young women get tested annually.

For more information on chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomonas, or the San Francisco Bay Home Testing Consortium, please visit www.iknowsfbay.org.