Course: STI Prevention: Using Epidemiology to Inform Policy and Program

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Course Description

Considers features of sexually transmitted diseases relevant to their control, reviewing the natural history of the infections and laboratory diagnoses. Emphasizes policy development and public health practice for STI control and prevention, including behavioral interventions and medical screening/treatment intervention of sexually transmitted diseases.

This course is divided into four modules:

  1. The Basics: The goal is to introduce the course, the role of public health in STI prevention, and the epidemiology and control of STIs. There is also a brief introduction to policy and program. The key concepts presented in this section lay the foundation and establish a common language for the remainder of the course.
  2. STI-Specific Epidemiology and Biology: The goal is to gain appreciation of the epidemiologic and biological aspects of STIs that enable the development of prevention and control policy and program. Students are not expected to develop clinical or epidemiologic expertise, but rather to recognize STI infection patterns and manifestations that inform policy and program.
  3. STI Policy and Program in Various Contexts: STI policy and programs exist in the context of human behavior. The goal of this module is to gain appreciation of the aspects of human behavior that enable the development of behavioral intervention programs in populations with varying risks of STI acquisitions and disease progression. Examples of successful behavioral intervention programs will be presented.
  4. Summary: Development of STI Policy and Program: The module ties together the skills and concepts taught in the course. The goal is to integrate knowledge of STI epidemiology, biology, and behavior into viable control policies and programs.

Course Objectives

To increase public health practitioners' awareness of the scope of the STI problem and to demonstrate the application of biology, epidemiology, and behavioral aspects of STIs to the development of policy and program.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the etiology of common STIs
  • Define the epidemiology of selected STIs
  • Identify the clinical presentations of STIs and their sequelae
  • Explain the theoretical and practical issues related to the design and implementation of STI control interventions
  • Describe the social, policy, and political issues encountered in developing and implementing STI control interventions
  • Develop a presentation illustrating the importance of STI epidemiology to policy and program development


  • Principles of Epidemiology (340.601) or equivalent
  • Public Health Biology (550.630) or equivalent


There is no textbook for this course. Readings for each session are listed on the Readings page.

Course Requirements

Project: Create a briefing memo with an annotated bibliography and a three-minute slide presentation.

Midterm Exam: An open-book exam consisting of several different question-style formats: multiple choice, true/false, and short answer.