City to Station STD Specialists at Large Hospitals

New York's Health Department wants to put more specialists in sexually transmitted diseases in some of the city's largest hospitals. The goal is to reach out to the partners of newly diagnosed HIV patients. WNYC’s Fred Mogul reports.

REPORTER: Researchers in a recent study say specialists who work in city STD clinics are better at reaching partners than the patients themselves or other general clinicians. Dr. Beth Begier, who heads the Health Department’s division of HIV epidemiology, co-authored the study:

BEGIER: About half the people interviewed in STD clinics gave partner information to the interviewer. In non-STD clinics, it was only 17 percent.

REPORTER: As a result, the city has started stationing STD specialists in several large hospitals, both public and private, where HIV is highly prevalent – and fatal. After two years, Begier says, more partners are being contacted than ever before, and of those reached, about 80 percent are coming in to be tested – up from 25 percent. The Health Department plans to expand the pilot program to more facilities soon. For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.