Gonorrhea and chlamydia in emergency departments: Screening, diagnosis, and treatment

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Abstract

Failure to screen sexually active adolescents and adults for gonorrhea and chlamydia at the time of acute care visits to urban emergency departments (ED) results in missed treatment opportunities for 38% to 82% of infected persons. The prevalence of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections among ED patients presenting with genitourinary or pregnancy-related complaints or providing urine specimens as part of routine medical care ranges from 4.3% to 16.4%. Notably, prevalence among general ED patients is similar (9.7%-14.3%). Due to the asymptomatic or nonspecific presentation of these infections, expanded screening is recommended to increase detection, treatment, and partner notification. A lower threshold of empiric treatment in the ED setting is recommended due to the difficulty and incompleteness of follow-up subsequent to ED discharge. Specific recommendations to improve the quality of ED care for sexually transmitted infections and to expand detection are provided.

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