Sept. 25, 2011
Kiosks in L.A. County are helping to diagnose sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2009, the county launched its "I Know" program, which allowed patients to order fee at-home STD test kits online. The program's success has since inspired officials to take it a step further allowing patients to use kiosks and tablets deployed throughout the city to order home STD testing kits. They'll receive them on the spot as opposed to waiting for them to arrive by mail.
Both kiosks and tablets will enable secure access to the program's website to record kit orders, so patients can later obtain their results from the program website, or by calling a toll-free number.
"The I Know program will now be everywhere that we can put a kiosk, everywhere any partnering community agency can send an outreach worker with a tablet, and anywhere a woman has access to a computer or any phone," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is helping to launch the high-tech outreach effort to tackle sexually transmitted diseases in the Second Supervisorial District, where STD levels are the highest in the County.
About the kiosks
The kiosks used in the STD program were manufactured by SeePoint Interactive Kiosks. The kiosk is designed to work with two printers – a thermal printer from US Microproducts and a label printer from Zebra.
"We did the entire project in under six weeks with our Customized Off the Shelf design program," said Jonathan Afrin, SeePoint's president.
The kiosks also have overhead signage and are silk screened to work with the program's "I Know" brand.
How they work
Visitors simply use the kiosks to sign up for a home-testing kit, entering their information and reading a privacy disclaimer.
The kiosk then prints out a mailing label and a form , which the user takes with her to a pharmacy or pick-up location to obtain the kit. The user will then conduct the test at home and then apply the label to printed from the kiosk to the vial for future verification.
Ridley-Thomas said he hopes the kiosk program will help encourage those who may be afraid -- who may have no symptoms, but who have made some choices that put them at risk -- to take the first step toward getting help and taking a test in the privacy of their own homes.
"Unfortunately, these infectious diseases are at unacceptable levels and are increasing, particularly among young African-American women," "These are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters who are suffering from the health consequences of these STDs, and we cannot let them go untreated. Families depend upon them, communities depend upon them, but you can't treat what you don't know exists."
The "I Know" home testing program received 30,878 to its website in its first year; and 2,927 kits were ordered. A total of 1,543 testable swabs were returned, of which 131 or 8.5 percent were positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea.
In 2010, there were 44,648 total reported cases of chlamydia and 9,501 total cases of gonorrhea among L.A. County residents. Among diseases with mandated reporting requirements, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two most commonly reported infectious diseases in the United States.
Women throughout the County will continue to be able to order kits fromDontThinkKnow.org, or by calling the County STD Program's tollfree hotline number, 1-800-758-0880, to have test kits sent to them by mail.