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Cochise County among first in country to implement rapid PCR diagnostic for STIs

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 7:33 PM MST
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Sierra Vista, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - April 10 through April 16 is STD Awareness Week.

Chiricahua Community Health Centers (CCHCI) is looking to raise awareness for sexually transmitted diseases. CCHCI collaborated with The Body Agency Collective and Visby Medical to improve sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and treatment along the U.S.-Mexico border.

CCHCI is among the first healthcare providers in the country to utilize this new technology.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darlene Melk says this new technology will change the way they test and treat patients.

“Just having this test available and getting the result on the spot is a game changer as a health care professional,” she said.

With this new test, rather than patients waiting two to five days for a result, it can now be delivered in just 28 minutes.

The test can identify three kinds of sexually transmitted infections: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas.

According to the CDC, Arizona ranks 15th for both chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. And, second in the nation, under New Mexico, for congenital syphilis.

Melk said a lot of these cases can go untreated and advises for annual screenings and early detection and treatment of STIs are critical to avoid serious and potentially permanent complications in women.

“The recommendation is once a year, regardless of symptoms, you get screened if you’re sexually active,” she said.

You can learn more about the test or schedule an appointment for one here.

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