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New California law aims to bring down STDs with at-home testing

A sign is posted outside The Night Ministry bus on Aug. 9, 2000 in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, informing citizens of the free STD testing offered by The Outreach and Health Ministry program. The Night Ministry reaches out to individuals who are living on the streets, many of whom do not have access to social services. (Tim Boyle/Newsmakers/Getty Images)
A sign is posted outside The Night Ministry bus on Aug. 9, 2000 in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, informing citizens of the free STD testing offered by The Outreach and Health Ministry program. The Night Ministry reaches out to individuals who are living on the streets, many of whom do not have access to social services. (Tim Boyle/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

California is the first state in the country to require private insurance to cover at-home testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The law is the first of its kind.

STDs have been surging in California and across the country. Between 2015 and 2019, there was a 30% increase in the most commonly reported infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The pandemic has diverted public health resources and reduced screening for these preventable and treatable infections.

Host Scott Tong talks with Stephanie Arnold Pang, senior director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, about this law and how to address the surge in STDs.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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