SAN DIEGO - The early results are in for a new county program that offers young women free, at-home kits to test for certain sexually transmitted diseases.
"We are targeting women most affected by these diseases," said Dr. Winston Tilghman, the senior physician at the county's Health and Human Services Agency.
Tilghman says the state-funded program – called "Don't think, know" – offers test kits to women 25 and younger for Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
In the past two years, the county cases for young women have jumped 43 percent for gonorrhea and 26 percent for Chlamydia. 10News compared the year-to-date numbers from January to May 2013, compared to the same time period in 2012.
The focus is also on those two STDs because they do not require blood tests and can easily be swabbed and shipped.
Once the test sample is shipped, it takes about a week to get the results, which can be obtained through a secure login. If it is a positive result, the person is referred to local resources for treatment.
So far, the program – with a limited advertising budget – has resulted in 14 samples returned since the program began in May. Four have tested positive for Chlamydia.
A similar, 4-year-old program in Los Angeles has been deemed a success.
Tilghman believes the program works because it offers a free and convenient option for low-income young women, those most affected by the two STDs.
One factor cited in the rise in STDs is the use of smartphones to hook up for sex.
Women can receive the kits discreetly at a home address or physically pick them up.