The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins the National Coalition of STD Directors in recognizing October 4 as the second annual National Disease Prevention Specialist (DPS) Recognition Day. This day honors disease prevention specialists, the dedicated workforce of state and local sexually transmitted disease (STD) and HIV programs.
“DPS are the cornerstone of prevention and control efforts for HIV and other STDs in Iowa,” said George Walton, IDPH STD Prevention Program Manager. “They are also prepared for bioterrorism/emergency response, tuberculosis outbreak response, and other infectious disease controls.”
DPS provide partner services, which are confidential interviews of persons diagnosed with STDs. During the interviews, the DPS directly addresses concerns a person may have about their diagnosis or treatment and may also make referrals for other needs, like transportation to medical appointments. The DPS also works to obtain the names and contact information of the person’s sexual partner(s) so they, too, can be offered counseling, testing, and treatment. This service effectively breaks the chain of disease transmission and protects the public’s health.
IDPH employs six DPS, stationed in six different regions of Iowa. In addition, Polk, Linn, Black Hawk, and Scott county health departments employ DPS who serve individuals within their respective counties. In 2012, state and county DPS interviewed nearly 4,000 Iowans and worked with numerous medical providers and laboratories to verify appropriate testing and treatment for approximately 13,000 Iowans.
To learn more about National DPS Recognition Day, visit www.ncsddc.org/DIS. For more information about Partner Services, visit www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/partners/Partner-Services.html. To learn more about HIV and STD prevention programs at IDPH, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/HivStdHep/Default.aspx.