sexually transmitted infections; STI services; Medicaid program
The United States is undergoing an epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All three bacterial infections are detectable and treatable, yet they often go diagnosed. Untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to serious pelvic infections and infertility; untreated syphilis can result in severe complications, including death. Congenital syphilis is increasing as well, with a concurrent rise in stillbirth and newborn deaths.
Increased resources and heightened attention are urgently needed to supplement the work of the public health infrastructure, for which STI funding has remained stagnant for two decades. Fortunately, the Medicaid program is well situated to improve STI services on a broad scale. The federal-state health insurance program covers 73 million people, and is the primary payer for family planning services for low-income women. Medicaid eligibility overlaps significantly with STI risk, and the program already covers a disproportionate share of STI-related visits.
This publication (journal article, etc.) was supported by Cooperative Agreement number 6NU38OT000288 funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.