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CHCC celebrates National Public Health Week: Highlighting the HIV/STD Prevention Program

(CHCC) — The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.-Division of Public Health Services joined the American Public Health Association in observing National Public Health Week from April 1 to 7, 2019.

For over 20 years, the APHA has brought together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week; a time to recognize the contributions of public health departments and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation’s health.

To celebrate National Public Health Week and raise awareness of public health, we will be releasing a series of press releases highlighting the services provided by the five public health programs; TB/Hansen’s, HIV/STD Prevention, Immunization, the Non-Communicable Disease Bureau, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

To combat conditions and environmental factors that influence health, the programs under the Division of Public Health Services and their partners aim to promote healthy lifestyles, create policies, and provide services to protect the health of the people in the CNMI. Together we can work to better your health, my health, our public health.

The HIV/STD Prevention Program

The HIV/STD prevention program provides services that reduce the further transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The program also works to increase the quality of care among those already infected through education, prevention services, and referral systems to medical and social services.

  • • Since 1997, the CNMI reported less than 50 persons living with HIV/AIDS to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • • 55 percent of the current cases have an AIDS diagnosis while the other 45 percent have an HIV diagnosis.
  • • In 2018, the CNMI reported 245 cases of chlamydia and 34 cases of gonorrhea to the CDC.

The HIV/STD prevention program continues to work...

  • • In partnership with the CNMI Drug Court Program, PRIDE Marianas, Paper Dolls, Northern Marianas College, and others to deliver services and engage vulnerable populations that include intravenous drug users, men that have sex with men, and youth.
  • • In partnership with the Tuberculosis/Hansen’s Program to screen and test HIV positive patients for Tuberculosis.
  • • In collaboration with the CNMI Public School System. The DPHS is the only program in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island Jurisdictions that provides high school students access to HIV/STD preventive and treatment services in their own schools.
  • • High school-aged students are most vulnerable to chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. In 2018, 58 percent of reported cases of chlamydia and 53 percent of reported cases of gonorrhea were within the age range of 15-24.
  • • On case management and access to HIV treatment, which contributes to a rate of 75 percent viral suppression in persons living with HIV in the CNMI.
  • • In providing a culturally appropriate 10-lesson curriculum based on Navigating Personal Well-Being and Sexuality in Chamorro Communities to 15 individuals so far, to increase their knowledge and skill set in HIV/STD prevention education.
  • • As a member of the Program Collaboration Service Integration, which re-affirms the HIV/STD Prevention Program’s ongoing implementation of strategies to reduce these diseases.

Together, we celebrate our successful partnerships and champion the role of a strong public health system, while becoming part of a growing movement to create the healthiest nation in one generation.

The HIV/STD prevention program is locally and federally funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration, agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information, please call the HIV/STD Prevention Program at 664-4050.

For more information about its programs, please follow CHCC on Facebook and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at www.chcc.gov.mp, or call 234-8950.