Physician Adherence to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines for Sexually Active Adolescents in the Pediatric Emergency Setting

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There is limited literature about physicians' adherence to 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines specific to specimen collection testing methods in adolescent females in the emergency setting is limited. The objectives are to (1) determine physician adherence to CDC guidelines for specimen collection/testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, (2) determine physician characteristics associated with guideline adherence, and (3) describe physicians' knowledge of expedited partner therapy (EPT) laws.


This is a cross-sectional, anonymous, Internet-based survey of physician members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Emergency Medicine. Questions addressed practice patterns and knowledge through clinical scenarios of adolescent girls. Descriptive statistics are used to report frequency. Fisher exact and χ2 analyses are used to compare physician subgroups: gender, years in practice, practice setting, and geographical region.


Overall, 257 physicians responded and 231 were analyzed; 62.4% females; 46.0% in practice for ≤ 7 years; 86.2% in academic medicine. Specimen collection/testing in an asymptomatic patient were consistent with guidelines for 85.6% of respondents, but decreased to 37.4% for a symptomatic patient. Guideline adherence was not different between physician subgroups. Only 30.4% of physicians reported state EPT law knowledge.


Adherence with the CDC guidelines for chlamydia/gonorrhea specimen collection/testing for adolescents in the emergency setting is inadequate, and EPT knowledge is poor. With increased emergency department use by adolescents, it is critical that physicians know and implement the current recommendations to improve adolescent health outcomes.

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