The Changing Role of Disease Intervention Specialists in Modern Public Health Programs - Bio-Defense Network
Jun 2021

The Changing Role of Disease Intervention Specialists in Modern Public Health Programs

For decades, disease intervention specialists have worked on the front lines of public health, defending against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. The transmission of STDs can be interrupted when a disease intervention specialist contacts recently diagnosed persons, ensures that they are treated, identifies their sexual partners, and ensures that the partners are tested and treated. The success of this work depends on the ability and willingness of patients to name their sexual partners; the ability of the disease intervention specialist to promptly interview infected persons, find their sexual partners by using available resources, and maintain patient confidentiality; and the cooperation of local providers and community stakeholders in coordinating prevention messaging. With proper training and resources, disease intervention specialists provide an effective, albeit costly, service for health departments to control the spread of STDs and HIV.

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