Health Department Announces State-of-the-Art “Quickie Lab” for Fast and Easy Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Testing

Test results for chlamydia and gonorrhea will now be shared with Chelsea Express patients in hours rather than days

Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express is part of the City’s plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2020

For WorldPride NYC, Chelsea Express and Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic will expand hours and clinical services in the last week of June and first week of July

June, 12, 2019 — The Health Department today announced its Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express, a new, innovative system that provides rapid testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Patients who show no symptoms can go to Chelsea Express without an appointment and have their specimens tested at the Quickie Lab. Rapid testing for HIV and testing for syphilis are also available at Chelsea Express. The Quickie Lab opens as the Health Department released preliminary data showing increases in syphilis and gonorrhea cases in New York City, mirroring a national trend. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to stopping the transmission of these infections. This new system is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Ending the Epidemic plan, which includes a strong prevention and treatment infrastructure for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In honor of WorldPride NYC | Stonewall 50, the Health Department also announced it will expand service hours for the Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express in the last week of June and first week of July.

“With the increase of STI cases nationwide, the Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express is just what the city needs,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “New Yorkers need welcoming and judgment-free places where they can get rapid testing for STIs. The Health Department is committed to ensuring that all residents have the resources they need to lead safe and healthy sex lives.”

“A strong community voice ignited innovations at our Sexual Health Clinics—thanks to these innovations, our clinics are now national and international examples of how high-quality sexual health care is central to ending the HIV epidemic and STI syndemic,” said Deputy Commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis. “The Quickie Lab is the most recent product of the community voice that guides our work. Continuing to provide state-of-the art, HIV status-neutral, and patient-centered sexual health services will attract more New Yorkers to use Chelsea Express. We are elated to introduce Quickie Lab to coincide with WorldPride | Stonewall 50 celebrations.”

"Cepheid shares in the excitement of the vision and leadership that the New York City Health Department and its Public Health Laboratory have taken to the community by bringing rapid chlamydia and gonorrhea testing on the Cepheid GeneXpert Infinity System,” said David H. Persing, Cepheid's Chief Medical and Technology Officer. “To interrupt the transmission cycle, rapid results matter. We look forward to the potential for a tangible, measurable impact of this new technology on STI rates in New York City.”

Preliminary Data on Sexually Transmitted Infection Diagnoses in New York City, 2018

  • New York City’s cases of primary and secondary syphilis — the stages during which syphilis is most contagious — increased by 9%, from 1,799 in 2017 to 1,960 in 2018. The vast majority of these cases are among men, particularly gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. However, primary and secondary syphilis cases among women increased 30% (from 69 in 2017 to 90 in 2018). As announced in a recent Health Alert (PDF), congenital syphilis cases in New York City nearly tripled from 7 cases in 2017 to 20 cases in 2018.
  • Reported cases of gonorrhea also rose by 11%, from 23,491 in 2017 to 26,072 in 2018. Gonorrhea cases have been rising more steeply among men.
  • Reported numbers of chlamydia cases remained stable in New York City from 2017 to 2018.

Increases in syphilis and gonorrhea diagnoses are related to many factors, including increased transmission and increases in the numbers of New Yorkers being tested.

Many people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have no signs or symptoms. However, untreated STIs can have lasting health effects, including visual and hearing loss, dementia, paralysis, infertility and stillbirth. Having syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia can make it easier to get or transmit HIV. The best way to prevent syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia is through condom use, early detection, and treatment. New Yorkers that have sex are encouraged to be open and honest with their doctors about their sexual practices and ask about getting tested for STIs. Testing for these infections is easy, and they are curable with antibiotics.

“Quick, accurate, and stigma-free STI testing needs to be available to every New Yorker,” said City Council Health Chair Mark Levine. “We are fighting a multiple-front war against STIs in New York City with a concerning spike in syphilis and gonorrhea cases this past year. We need to be vigilant and responsive to stemming the transmission of these diseases and using the latest testing tools available to us to for early detection is key to success. The opening of the Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express is a tremendous step forward to achieve our goal of providing rapid, state-of-the-art testing for New Yorkers across all five boroughs.”

"New Yorkers deserve fast, friendly, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis,” said Mark Harrington, Executive Director of Treatment Action Group. “The new Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express brings these key tools for sexual health to the center of New York City’s STI epidemic and links them with testing, treatment, and prevention. Treatment Action Group salutes the New York City Health Department for launching Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express and hopes that these new services will also soon be provided across the City.”

“Once again, New York is leading the way to transform public health,” said Charles King, President & CEO of Housing Works. “We know that fast, friendly and efficient service is a key step to overcoming barriers to testing for STIs. The Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express will make it much easier to get tested for an STI and make the experience free of stigma.”

Extended Hours at Chelsea Express

The Health Department also announced extended service hours at Chelsea Express to coincide with WorldPride NYC:

  • Thursday, June 27, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, June 28, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Monday, July 1, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 2, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Additionally, Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic will have extended hours on Saturday June 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ending the Epidemic

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Ending the Epidemic plan includes a $23 million investment to increase access to HIV prevention services, including PrEP and PEP; promote innovative, optimal treatment for all New Yorkers with HIV; enhance methods for tracing HIV transmission; and improve access to comprehensive, affirming sexual health care for all New Yorkers through targeted outreach to priority populations and enhancements to the City’s Sexual Health Clinics. Underlying these efforts is a commitment to racial equity and social justice to reduce disparities and health inequities.

Sexual Health Clinics and Chelsea Express

The Health Department operates eight Sexual Health Clinics, all of which offer low- to no-cost state-of-the-art STI and HIV services, including STI and HIV testing, emergency PEP, PrEP initiation and navigation, immediate initiation of HIV treatment with navigation to longer-term care, and counseling services. Chelsea Express is a dedicated space in the Chelsea Health Center (303 9th Avenue) where patients who don’t have symptoms can get tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV without having to see a clinician. Although all eight of the Health Department’s Sexual Health Clinics offer express testing services, Chelsea Express is the City’s first express clinic, ensuring that patients have fast and easy access to routine testing for STIs.

Anyone 12 years or older can receive services at an NYC Sexual Health Clinic regardless of immigration status, insurance coverage, or ability to pay.

The Public Health Laboratory and Quickie Lab

The Quickie Lab at Chelsea Express is affiliated with the Health Department’s Public Health Laboratory (PHL) and provides rapid, state-of-the-art testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea using the Cepheid GeneXpert platform. Established in 1892, PHL provides a wide variety of clinical and environmental laboratory testing services. PHL performs testing on more than 200,000 specimens each year, and serves as one of the first lines of defense when responding to outbreaks in New York City. In recent years, the PHL has provided emergency response and surge testing for H1N1, Ebola, hepatitis A, Legionnaires’ disease, and Zika virus.



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