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Goal Statement: The goal of this social change portfolio is to reduce the rate of syphilis infections in women by increasing the availability of comprehensive sexual health education, improving the accessibility of affordable and free healthcare and STI/D testing, and developing community intervention programs that address the additional risk factors that contribute to the rise in syphilis rates.

Significant Findings: Arizona has had a 449% increase in syphilis rates in women since 2015, with Pima County ranking as the county with the second-highest increase in rates (AZDHS, 2023). These startling increases in rates are clearly evident across the nation. The rise in syphilis in women has had an even more tragic consequence on an even more vulnerable population, the unborn or newborn child, as there has been a positive correlation in the rise in congenital syphilis as well. Several risk factors have been identified as contributing factors to the increase in infection and must be addressed to combat this public health crisis.

Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: One strategy is to address the Pima County Board of Education on changing the sexual education curriculum, making it more comprehensive versus abstinence-only based. Research conducted by Goldfarb and Lieberman (2021) reviewed research conducted on comprehensive sexual education programs over 30 years and found that “attention to the full range of sexual health topics…embedded in supportive school environments and across subject areas, has the potential to improve sexual, social, and emotional health…” (p. 14). As American Indians continue to see a rise in infection rates, the emphasis is on developing culturally relevant community/tribal programs to address awareness and prevention. This strategy allows collaboration with tribal leaders that will be imperative for a successful program and fortify bonds between mental health professionals and the American Indian communities. Another method would be implementing a Consolidated Health Care program at the Massachusetts Department of Health. This program utilizes cross-jurisdictional sharing and allows local health departments and other federally funded medical facilities to share public health information and services. This process has been successful in several other states, including Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, and Connecticut (Massachusettes, 2020). This process has also shown that it can successfully transfer information from county and local public health systems common in other states (Massachusettes, 2020). Finally, focusing advocacy efforts on highlighting the need for more funding and a redirection of current funds to community-based healthcare centers that provide sexual healthcare services is critical. Local, state, and federal representatives must be engaged on how vital their role is in eliminating this public health crisis, as they will be the ultimate advocates who speak on behalf of Arizona.