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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published recommendations for clinicians on the management of pelvic inflammatory disease, but it is unknown if providers are aware of the guidelines or follow them.To compare pelvic inflammatory disease screening, diagnosis, treatment, and reporting practices among primary care physicians with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for pelvic inflammatory disease.A weighted random sample of California primary care physicians surveyed in November 1992 and January 1993.Of the 1,165 physicians surveyed, 553 (48%) returned completed questionnaires. Among respondents, 302 (55%) reported having treated a case of pelvic inflammatory disease during the last 12 months, and of these, 52% answered that they were unsure of or do not follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for pelvic inflammatory disease. Pediatricians and those with more years since residency were less likely to deviate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for pelvic inflammatory disease, and family practitioners were more likely to deviate from the guidelines.Pelvic inflammatory disease is commonly encountered by primary care physicians in California. Training and experience were important predictors of compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations; however, substantial divergence from the guidelines occurs.