North Carolina uses gift cards to encourage STD testing

As many suffer from credit card debt and are forced into bill consolidation to help make ends meet, Americans are looking for as many ways to make money as possible, and in North Carolina, getting a $10 gift card to Wal-Mart is as easy as taking a trip to the doctor.

MSNBC reports that health workers in Forsyth County, North Carolina are offering a $10 gift card to Wal-Mart for residents who get tested for HIV and syphilis. The plan came about as the region has been suffering through an outbreak in STDs this year where cases of venereal diseases had tripled over 2008 numbers with still three months to go.

Of the 603 people tested during the recent campaign, MSNBC reports that about half say they were motivated because of the card. Evelyn Foust, director of the communicable diseases branch of the North Carolina Department of Public Health, told the news provider that money is definitely a factor for many of those who get tested.

“I was in Rocky Mount [N.C.] where we screened 500 people in one weekend when a woman came up to me and said, ‘you know, with their dollar menu, I can get five meals out of this,'” she told MSNBC.

North Carolina isn’t the only state paying people to better their health. Some Medicare patients in Illinois are receiving money on a prepaid card if they visit their primary physician.