Maine CDC Press Release

October 4, 2012

Maine CDC Recognizes National Disease Intervention Specialists

AUGUSTA– Today, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), in conjunction with the National Coalition of Sexually Transmitted Disease Directors (NCSD), will be participating in the first National Disease Intervention Specialists Recognition Day. Intended to be an annual event celebrated the first Friday of October, the day has been set aside to honor the workforce that is the underpinning of all STD and HIV program, known as Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS).

DIS personnel provide confidential interviews to people diagnosed with an STD to address concerns about their diagnosis, treatment, counseling, and referral needs. In addition, they work to obtain the names and contact information of sexual and needle-sharing partner(s) in order to confidentially notify them of their possible exposure and offer counseling, testing, and treatment. This service effectively breaks the chain of disease transmission and protects public health.

In 2011, DIS in Maine worked 1,768 cases of individuals diagnosed with an ST D or HIV. All of those diagnosed with HIV and 85% of those with an STD were successfully linked to treatment and services.

“Maine Disease Intervention Specialists are the backbone of the STD and HIV Program. A rural state like ours presents unique challenges that are continually met with professionalism and excellent public health practice,” said Dr. Shelia Pinette, Director of Maine CDC. “These specialists provides a crucial link to make sure that diseases like HIV and other more common sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed, treated and not passed on to others. This work really helps to protect the people of Maine.” For additional materials and information on HIV and STDs in Maine please visit: http://www.mainepublichealth.gov/std