STD Testing In Jails

The prevalence of STDs has been shown to be higher among incarcerated population in jails and juvenile detention centers than in general population. Persons with untreated STDs are three to five times more likely to acquire and facilitate transmission of HIV and persons with HIV are in turn more likely to develop contagious active tuberculosis (TB). Screening inmates for STDs in correctional settings can help identify infections, reduce the costs associated with treating complications of STDs and reduce transmission of disease among incarcerated populations as well as to the general population. Jail detainees are typically held only for a short time and then return to their communities, which means that infected inmates can potentially transmit infection to others in the community. By testing and treating those in jail for STDs however, it is possible to inhibit further disease transmission.

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections;

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections in women are usually asymptomatic therefore screening is an important strategy for the identification of the infections. Overall, Chlamydia positivity is much higher in women than in men for all age groups and screening in a managed care setting can result to as much as a 60% reduction in the incidence of PID. Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections result in PID (pulmonary Inflammatory disease), which is a major cause of infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Men with gonorrhea tend to present with symptoms of pain, dysuria, tenesmus and anal and/or penile discharge with signs and symptoms dependent upon site of infection. Chlamydia infections may present with scant urethral discharge or florid symptoms.


Syphilis rates have been on the rise since early 2000. Reported rates of syphilis are higher in correctional environments than in non-incarcerated populations. However there has been a recent increase in syphilis rates in the general population among men who have sex with men (MSM).

CDC recommendations

  • Universal screening of adolescent females for Chlamydia and gonorrhea should be conducted at intake in juvenile detention or jail facilities. Young women of age less than 35 years have been reported to have high rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea. Universal screening of adult females should be conducted at intake among adult females up to 35 years of age (or on the basis of local institutional prevalence data).

  • Universal screening for syphilis should be conducted on the basis of the local area and institutional prevalence of early (primary, secondary, and early latent) infectious syphilis. Syphilis seroprevalence rates which can indicate previous infection are considerably higher among adult men and women.