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Case Study

How Allegheny County Health Department and Color are delivering STI care to those who need it most


Participants screened


Kits ordered


Kits Activated


Chlamydia Positivity Rate

Allegheny County Health Department

Didn't need to book an appointment. Didn't need to find a healthcare provider. Didn't need to go to a location at a set time to get tested. Free. It basically lowered all barriers to getting tested that myself and/or my partner faced.

Allegheny County resident
Testing Kit

In November 2022, Allegheny County Health Department partnered with Color Health to launch a free, discreet, at-home STI testing program for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The program aimed to expand access and drive utilization of STI testing services among young adults in high risk communities.


The Challenge

Combat Rising STI Rates and Reach High-Risk Residents

Like many other public health departments, Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has tracked a rise in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) over the past few years. Specifically, in 2019, Allegheny County saw an 11% increase in chlamydia cases and, in 2021, an 18% rise in gonorrhea cases. In response, ACHD offered several on-site STI testing programs to improve access. However, as cases continued to increase, it was made clear that a different approach would be necessary to reach residents who were unable or hesitant to receive in-person care or who were unaware of the services available to them.

The Solution

At-Home Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Funded by NACCHO and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, ACHD partnered with Color Health and a local pharmacy to offer free, discreet, at-home chlamydia and gonorrhea testing. The program aimed to expand access and drive utilization of STI testing services among young adults in high risk communities and to prove that this at-home testing model yielded high uptake, effective identification of cases, and positive patient feedback. 

Here’s how it worked. Residents were directed through a variety of marketing tactics to a program eligibility page. If eligible, they would then receive their testing kit in the mail within 5 days or pick it up at a local pharmacy. After testing, residents would mail their test back in a USPS drop box and receive results within a week. If results were positive, treatment would be made available.

The Results

Increased STI Detection in Young Adults

In 6 months of running this program, ACHD and Color have screened over 1700 residents, and nearly 700 kits have been ordered. There have been 11 positive test results in that patient pool, resulting in a 5% chlamydia positivity rate, a 1% gonorrhea positivity rate, and 0.5% combined positivity rate. Given these early results, ACHD plans to add on syphilis and HIV testing and build new local pharmacy partnerships.

Test Kit laid out on table
Color App Collage

The Importance of Engagement

A critical component of this program was marketing it to residents. To make sure their target population was aware of the free services available to them, ACHD and Color worked together to deploy a variety of engagement tactics, including advertising on Grindr, posting on organic social channels, canvassing at local businesses like sex shops and bars, and flyering on college campuses.

Without the combined efforts of the health department and Color, it would have been much more difficult for Allegheny County residents to learn about and access the program.

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About Color

Color is a complete platform for healthcare delivery, providing the technology, infrastructure, and logistics required to distribute large-scale health initiatives to diverse populations. Color works with businesses, public health departments, schools, communities, and more to provide equitable, accessible healthcare services.

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