UK National Audit of Early Syphilis Management. Case notes audit: diagnosis and treatment

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A national audit of 781 early syphilis cases presenting during 2002–03 in UK genitourinary medicine clinics was conducted in late 2004, organized through the Regional Audit Groups. Data were aggregated by region and National Health Service trust, allowing practice to be compared between regions, between trusts within regions, as well as to national averages and the UK National Guidelines. An enzyme immunoassay was used to diagnose 695 (89%) cases (regional range 18–100%). Use of a non-treponemal test was not recorded for 44 (6%) cases. Dark ground microscopy was used in the diagnosis of only 80 (29%) primary cases. Uptake of HIV testing was 77% (range 69–94%). Nationally, 527 (67%) treatments were parenteral, with almost equal use of benzathine penicillin G for 262 (50%, range 0–97%) cases and procaine penicillin G (PPG) for 260 cases (49%, range 3–100%). There were 14 (5%) treatments with less than the recommended 750 mg dose of PPG. One hundred and five (40%) PPG treatments were with greater than 750 mg and/or for longer than 10 days of which 76 (72%) were for early latent syphilis and/or cases with HIV infection. One hundred and ninety two (86%, range 0–100%) of all oral treatments were with doxycycline. The recommended regimen of 100 mg doxycycline twice daily for 14 days was used for 104 (53%) cases; the other 91 (47%) treatments were with a variety of regimens, mainly treatments with larger doses and/or longer treatment intervals and some combination treatments. Fourteen (2%) cases were not treated; treatment was not reported for seven (0.9%) and not known for 10 (1.3%) cases, who were treated at other centres.

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