SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Sacramento County's health department will begin distributing a take-home STD test for women that won't cost users a penny.
The city has one of the highest rates of STDs in the state, and it keeps going up every year. Now a new online program will hopefully get more people to get tested.
"We definitely need all the help we can get," said Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye.
The division of public health says STDs are spreading like wildfire in Sacramento, with chlamydia and gonorrhea considered an epidemic.
"Many people who have STDs do not have symptoms. So they would not know otherwise, unless they do the testing," said Kasirye.
STD tests can be costly and uncomfortable for some. So now the county is offering in-home tests for women, which are paid for by the state.
"More like a swab in the private area and then they put it in the tube. The tube is then sealed and mailed off to the lab," said Kasirye.
You can sign up online and a few days later you'll receive a kit in the mail. It won't cost a thing.
"Free, anonymous, at home, yeah sounds good," said one Sacramento woman. "I can imagine a lot of women signing up for that."
After about a week later, results are posted online where only users can see them with a confidential code.
"If there's people that aren't insured, or they are not regularly going and getting tested, then it seems like it would open that wide up," the woman said.
The hope is the more people get tested, the faster the STD rate in Sacramento will start to slow down.
"We're hoping that through this – one -- we'll raise awareness; and -- two -- we'll also provide a service that is needed in the community," said Kasirye.
The grant runs out in three years, after which the county will have to find another way to pay for the program.
Men will still have to visit a doctor to be tested since the tests are only designed for women.
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