STD Preventive Services Gap Assessment Toolkit

Executive Summary


The Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Preventive Services Gap Assessment Toolkit serves as a general resource for health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs) and others that provide STD-related services.  The toolkit is designed for use in the execution of a gap assessment, one of four assessment activities identified in the Division of STD Prevention’s 2015 – 2019 program funding announcement (STD AAPPS).  The toolkit, however, is not limited to that usage.

One purpose of an STD prevention services gap assessment is to uncover the scope and distribution of STD prevention and care services in a given area, for a defined population, or some combination of both.  This activity includes discovering which STD prevention services are offered in conjunction with each other in which settings (e.g., STD testing, diagnosis and onsite treatment).  When people seek STD evaluation or care at facilities without sufficient capacity to manage such patients, the type and quality of STD care they receive can be affected. This toolkit provides STD program staff and others a resource for assessing how levels of care are distributed across a given area.

Moreover, individuals who benefit from STD prevention services frequently also benefit from other health and social services.  Some STD prevention programs and other health care facilities offer an array of preventive services (e.g., insurance enrollment) or refer patients to other needed services (e.g., homeless shelters or substance abuse treatment centers).  Thus a gap assessment can also be used for a second purpose, to discover how STD prevention services are interlinked with other health care, health promotion and social services in a given area.

Conducting a gap assessment therefore enables an STD program to identify, document and learn about the array of STD clinical and other preventive services across a defined geographic area or for a defined population.   A gap assessment also enables an STD program to learn more about the associations and partnerships among these organizations.  Such information may be used to inform program activities to improve STD prevention.

The Toolkit

The information presented in the toolkit is based on formative work conducted by CDC collaborating with STD programs in the field.  The toolkit provides assistance in planning, conducting and analyzing data from a gap assessment, including selecting the scope of an assessment, identification of facilities to assess, and how to manage data collection.  The guidance is intended to be flexible with respect to populations, services and catchment areas.  Although STD programs constitute the primary audience for this toolkit, the material may be used to guide gap assessments by other organizations and in other content areas.

Assessment Tools

The STD Preventive Services Checklist lists services that are either directly related to STD prevention (e.g., screening) or that might be offered in conjunction with STD prevention services or via referrals to other organizations (e.g., substance abuse and mental health treatment referrals).  The checklist is designed to capture the services offered (directly or via referral) by a given facility.  It is divided into three sections, (A) information about the organization completing the checklist, (B) a checklist of services and (C) a list of other organizations to which the respondent either refers people, or from which the respondent receives referrals.

The checklist is available for download on this page as a separate, editable form in Acrobat and Word versions.  Data collected via Acrobat fillable form version can be exported to Excel (see instructions).  The forms may be edited for content for users with interests in different populations or services.

The Interview Guides are also available for download as separate editable files in Word.  These guides provide starting points for in-depth interviews to complement the facility data gathered via the checklist.

Ideas, Protocols, Questions?

Please contact

Need Technical Assistance?

STD programs planning a gap assessment should contact their Project Officer and for more information.


This toolkit benefited from the invaluable input and feedback from the following people: Faruque Ahmed, Sevgi Aral, Roxanne Barrow, Melany Chambers, Jacquelyn Clymore, Peter Moore, and Dee Simmons.

We are thankful for their contributions.

Related Content

Get In, Get Tested, Get Care: STD Services in Urban Urgent Care Centers – This study provides an example of how the toolkit can be adapted to assess STD preventative services in urgent care centers.


Suggested Citation:

Hogben M, Kroeger K, Alexander-Pender C, Kinsey J, Williams SP. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Preventive Services Gap Assessment Toolkit.  Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016.