LIMA — Beginning this year, the Allen County Health Department will begin an Ohio Department of Health pilot program to test for certain sexually-transmitted diseases in the Allen County Jail. The program, which will administer voluntary testing and treatment for gonorrhea and chlamydia, was announced during Friday’s board of health meeting as part of the department’s plan for 2008. Funds for the program will be provided by the Ohio Department of Health.Allen County joins only one or two counties in the state as a location for this pilot program, said Becky Dershem, director of nursing at the health department. Allen County was selected because the health department already implements voluntary HIV testing at the jail, she said, and has been for nearly three years.“We’re hoping to impact behaviors by explaining, ‘Yes, you are infected,’ and we’re hoping to share safe sex practices,” Dershem said.Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are problems in the general public as well as the jail.“What we see in our community and in our STD clinic downstairs, the chlamydia rates are four to five times higher than what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) would expect to find,” she said. “The gonorrhea rate is two to three times higher than what they would expect to find.”Dershem said the program will last for one year.