Recommended Treatment for STIs More Likely in Public Versus Private Health Care Settings

Almost 20 percent of individuals with chlamydia and 25 percent with gonorrhea are not being initially treated
Recommended Treatment for STIs More Likely in Public Versus Private Health Care Settings
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, April 30, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals seen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by clinicians in a private U.S. health care setting are less likely to receive recommended treatment than those seen in a public health clinic, according to a study published online in the May issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Brian E. Dixon, Ph.D., from Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues compared treatment rates for laboratory-confirmed Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC; 2016 to 2020) among public and private providers. Data included linked electronic health records and Medicaid claims.

The researchers found that 82.2 percent of initial CT and 63.0 percent of initial GC episodes received U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended treatment. Across the five-year period, the public STI clinic treated >90 percent of CT and GC cases consistently, while private providers were significantly less likely to treat first episodes for CT (79.6 percent) and GC (53.3 percent). A higher likelihood of recommended treatment was associated with being male, being HIV-positive, and identifying as Black or multiracial. While all CT cases with treatment occurred per guidelines, 10.8 percent of GC cases received nonrecommended treatment.

"Although these treatment rates are higher than previous studies, there remain significant gaps in STI treatment that require intervention from public health," the authors write.

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