This is REACHMD. Welcome to this Medical Industry Feature titled, “The Role of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in STI Testing,” sponsored by Cepheid. This program is intended for physicians.
I am Dr. Phillip Heine, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.
In 2016, there were more than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis reported in the United States. The CDC has stated this is the highest number ever reported. Women and infants bear the greatest burden regarding long-term consequences of STIs.
Unfortunately, the majority of women who have an STI are either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.
The good news is these STIs still can be cured with antibiotics. But, if left undiagnosed and untreated, they can have serious health consequences including infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy complications including stillbirth, and an increased risk of other STI and HIV acquisition and transmission.
To combat this problem the CDC has published guidelines regarding the diagnosis and treatment of STIs.
The key take-home point from these recommendations is that sexually active women less than 25 years old, or older women who are at high risk for STI acquisition, should be screened yearly or at their first obstetric visit.
Although physicians have been utilizing PCR for the last several years, it has traditionally taken up to 4 days to receive a result. To achieve this goal rapid PCR tests with high sensitivity and specificity for chlamydia and gonorrhea are now available.
As obstetricians and gynecologists, we now can test our patients directly in our clinics or diagnose women at labor and delivery and give them immediate treatment if they are positive.
The key takeaway for the implementation of these fast and accurate diagnostic tools for the patients is:
- timely results equal timely treatment
- early treatment promotes compliance and will prevent long-term morbidity.
- early results will reduce patient stress associated with the uncertainty surrounding the delay and diagnosis, and
- it will reduce the need for empiric management of those not infected, a hallmark of antibiotic stewardship, and
- importantly, early patient notification may improve partner notification and have a significant positive impact on overall public health.
Thank you for joining me to discuss the Role of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in STI Testing.
This is REACHMD. The preceding program was sponsored by Cepheid. If you have missed any part of this discussion, visit ReachMD.com/OBGYNSTI. Thank you for listening.