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Many teenagers diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) during emergency department (ED) visits don't get proper treatment, according to a new study. Researchers also found that male teens were more likely than females to receive proper care for STDs.


Researchers looked at data covering 1.2 million ED visits by adolescents with STDs during a 7-year period. They selected 351 patients as representative. Of those patients, 92% were female. They then compared treatment provided with existing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, 80% of patients diagnosed with an STD were treated with antibiotics or admitted to the hospital.


The most common diagnosis was pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which was diagnosed in 91% of patients. Only 8% of patients with PID were admitted to the hospital, and only 35% received treatment that was fully compliant with CDC recommendations. Fewer than half of the female patients had a pregnancy test, and only one was tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


The authors say their findings indicate the need for better implementation of existing guidelines regarding treatment for STDs.




"Emergency Department Management of Sexually Transmitted Infections in US Adolescents: Results from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey," Annals of Emergency Medicine, K. Beckmann, et al., March 2004.