SIERRA VISTA, Ariz., BETHESDA, MD, and SAN JOSE, Calif. – April 04, 2022 – Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc. (CCHCI) today announced a collaboration with The Body Agency Collective (TBAC) and Visby Medical, Inc., to improve sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and treatment in observance of National STD Awareness Week. The project will utilize a new, first-of-its-kind PCR diagnostic device, the Sexual Health Click Test, that detects three of the most common and curable STIs in women – gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis – in less than 30 minutes.
STI rates are on the rise in the U.S. and globally:
- More than 1 million STIs are acquired every day globally. In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 374 million new infections with one of four STIs: trichomoniasis (156 million), chlamydia (129 million), gonorrhea (82 million), and syphilis (7.1 million) (WHO).
- Trichomoniasis is estimated to be the most prevalent non-viral STI worldwide, affecting approximately 3.7 million persons in the United States (CDC), and although it can affect both women and men, it is significantly more common in women (CDC).
- In 2019, a total of 1,808,703 cases of chlamydia were reported in the U.S., making it the most common notifiable condition in the United States for that year (CDC).
- Rates of reported gonorrhea have increased 92.0% since the historic low in 2009. During 2018–2019, the overall rate of reported gonorrhea increased 5.7%. Rates increased among both males and females, in all regions of the United States, and among all ethnicity groups (CDC).
“In our rural, binational community, many of our patients live far from a clinic and face multiple barriers to accessing primary and specialty care,” said CCHCI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Darlene Melk. “Having PCR in the palm of our hands is a barrier buster and game changer. I really cannot overstate the importance of having the ability to test, talk and treat for sexually transmitted infections in a single visit. We know that this testing and treatment will have an immediate impact for thousands of women and men throughout the rural southeastern Arizona region where we work. We’d like to thank The Body Agency and Visby Medical for working with Chiricahua to bring point of care testing and treatment directly to women who need it most.”
STI testing typically takes two to five days or more to return results, and often patients cannot be located after the initial appointment to deliver an accurate diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment. Clinicians therefore utilize presumptive treatment, or prescribing treatment for a suspected infection without the benefit of diagnostic results, which can lead to incorrect treatment, under-treatment, or over-treatment which contributes to societal antibiotic resistance.
“Sexually transmitted infections are three things: often asymptomatic, can be harmful to the female reproductive system, and thankfully most are treatable,” said Dr. Erica Montes, OB-GYN at Cornerstone Women’s Care in Phoenix and medical adviser and board member of The Body Agency. “They disproportionately affect women, especially in high-risk communities, so screening is essential because when we raise up women, we raise up entire communities. I’m very happy to be working with The Body Agency Collective and Visby Medical.”
Early detection and treatment of STIs are critical to avoid serious and potentially permanent complications, particularly in women. Left untreated, STIs can lead to increased risk of contracting HIV, infertility, and life-threatening complications such as ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. Women who are the most vulnerable, including those living with income, housing or food insecurity, are those most likely to be lost-to-care and benefit from the new diagnostic tool.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with CCHCI and Visby Medical to quickly diagnose STIs,” said Kate Roberts, founder and CEO of The Body Agency and TBA Collective. “This innovation is much needed in the world as these STIs are often misdiagnosed, and these tests come with the added benefit of being rapid. We love finding the latest innovation that makes it easy to access affordable and rapid healthcare.”
Designed for ease-of-use with minimal set-up time, the Visby Medical Sexual Health Click Test offers a fast sample-to-result time of less than 30 minutes with an accuracy rate of over 97 percent, equivalent to lab-based PCR tests. This allows health care consumers to get tested, talk to a clinician, and receive the proper treatment in a single visit, which may help reduce community spread. The instrument-free platform is the only one to support flexible and scalable operations in any location, including mobile health clinics, and the devices themselves can be used as part of the clinician-patient conversation as the clinician can physically show the patient the results at the time of diagnosis.
“Fast and highly accurate STI diagnosis is critical to combating rising STI rates in the U.S. and around the world,” said Dr. Gary Schoolnik, Visby Medical’s chief medical officer and professor of medicine at Stanford University specializing in infectious diseases. “We are very pleased to collaborate with CCHCI and TBAC on this pilot program to serve some of the most vulnerable women in our society who may not have the resources to participate in multiple medical appointments over several days. Our mission is to help patients and healthcare providers test for any infection at any time and in any location, and bringing this test to patients and clinicians along the U.S.-Mexico border is yet another step towards that goal.”
About Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc.
Chiricahua Community Health Centers, Inc. (CCHCI) is a mission driven Federally Qualified Health Center and a tax exempt not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Founded in 1996 as a small, rural health clinic operating in a community center, CCHCI has since grown to become the largest primary care organization in southeastern Arizona, serving more than 30,000 patients annually. About 61 percent of CCHCI’s patients are on Medicaid or uninsured and more than 25 percent live below 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold. CCHCI operates fourteen fixed-site medical clinics, and seven mobile-medical and mobile-dental units, that serve patients throughout the more than 6200 square mile borderlands of Cochise County.
About The Body Agency Collective
The Body Agency Collective is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to empower youth with their sexual health and wellness. TBA Collective seeks the latest innovation, tests it, and then helps to scale domestically and globally. Current programs are located in Ukraine, United States, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
About Visby Medical™
Visby Medical is transforming the order of diagnosis and treatment for infectious diseases so clinicians can test, talk with, and treat the patient in a single visit. The Company’s proprietary technology development program culminated in the world’s first instrument-free, single-use PCR platform that fits in the palm of your hand and rapidly tests for serious infections. Originally developed for sexually transmitted infections, the Company’s FDA-cleared, CLIA-waived Sexual Health Click Test for women returns accurate results within 28 minutes. The Visby Medical technology is also helping to fight the global pandemic via the Visby Medical COVID-19 Test, and its robust pipeline includes tests for other infectious diseases. Visby Medical is accelerating the delivery of fast and accurate, palm-sized PCR diagnostics to the point of care, and eventually for use at home. For more information, visit www.visbymedical.com. Follow Visby Medical on LinkedIn; Facebook, and Twitter.
Jane Montgomery – PR Specialist
The Body Agency Collective
Kate Roberts – Founder
Visby Medical, Inc.
Doug Hochstedler – Vice President, Health