Background For many individuals, the implementation of the US Affordable Care Act will involve a transition from public to private health care venues for sexually transmitted infection (STI) care and prevention. To anticipate challenges primary care providers may face and to inform the future role of publicly funded STI clinics, it is useful to consider their current functions. Methods Data collected by 40 STI clinics that are a part of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Network were used to describe patient demographic and behavioral characteristics, STI diagnoses, and laboratory testing data in 2010 and 2011. Results A total of 608,536 clinic visits were made by 363,607 unique patients. Most patients (61.9%) were male; 21.9% of men reported sex with men (MSM). Roughly half of patients were 20 to 29 years old (47.1%) and non-Hispanic black (56.2%). There were 212,765 STI diagnoses (mostly nonreportable) that required clinical examinations. A high volume of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV testing was performed (>350,000 tests); the prevalence was 11.5% for chlamydia, 5.8% for gonorrhea, 0.9% for HIV, and varied greatly by sex and MSM status. Among MSM with chlamydia or gonorrhea, 40.1% (1811/4448) of chlamydial and 46.2% (3370/7300) of gonococcal infections were detected at extragenital sites. Conclusions Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Network clinics served populations with high STI rates. Given experience with diagnoses of both nonreportable and reportable STIs and extragenital chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, STI clinics comprise a critical specialty network in STI diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases