How Wal-Mart Gift Cards Help Solve An STD Outbreak

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std screening
Health officials lure people to get tested with a $10 Wal-Mart gift card and it works!

How does a frustrated health worker amidst a scary syphilis outbreak get people to check their bits? Chlamydia Now Being Blamed For Male Infertility As Well

Offer them $10 gift cards to Wal-Mart, of course. Duh!

Syphilis cases in Forsyth, N.C. have more than tripled in the past year, and health officials are delighted that a Wal-Mart gift card seems to be the missing, high-rolling link to get people interested in their HIV and syphilis status.

After a weekend of door-to-door canvassing, health workers got 603 people tested for syphlilis and HIV. When surveyed, half said the the gift card was the reason they got off their couch and to the mobile testing van (probably parked outside their home) in the first place. Which sounds absolutely unbelievable—almost comical—we know. HIV Older Than Once Thought

This lackadasiacal approach to one's sexual health is exactly why Forsyth and other towns with high unemployment (and low percent of health insurance) are seeing an increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Forsyth County also cut funding for jail screening and other community education incentives, which plays a role.

Some argue this is expensive for the state—yes, the government paid for the cards and the testing— but experts say the detrimental long-term effects of people running rampant with disease are far more expensive. There's the increase in hospital bills, sick babies being born and missed days from work, for starters.

North Carolina has also used McDonald's coupons to get people tested, which might even be more effective.

“I was in Rocky Mount [N.C.] where we screened 500 people in one weekend,” recalled Evelyn Foust, director of the communicable diseases branch of the North Carolina Department of Public Health. “When a woman came up to me and said, you know, with their dollar menu, I can get five meals out of this.”

With all that coveted grease and soda in the future, let's just hope they stick around long enough to get the results.

How does a frustrated health worker amidst a scary syphilis outbreak get people to check their bits? Chlamydia Now Being Blamed For Male Infertility As Well

Offer them $10 gift cards to Wal-Mart, of course. Duh! Keep Reading...

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