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Medical News

Factors Associated With Repeat Syphilis Testing at a Large Urban LGBT Health Clinic: Chicago, IL 2002-2008

July 25, 2011

At six and 12 months after diagnosis with early syphilis, CDC recommends clinical and serologic re-evaluation to determine treatment efficacy.

The researchers conducted the current retrospective cohort study of men who have sex with men enrolled in primary care at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health center. The team used multivariable Poisson regression to examine associations between patient characteristics and timely follow-up (returning to the clinic within six months of initial diagnosis) -- and among patients with timely follow-up, factors associated with rescreening at the follow-up visit.


From January 2002 to December 2008, the clinic performed 5,788 syphilis tests. A total of 256 (4.4 percent) early syphilis cases were detected among 225 men. Of the 225 men, 134 (59.6 percent) received timely follow-up. Following implementation of electronic medical records and enhanced disease intervention specialist (DIS) follow-up, timely follow-up rose from 53 percent to 76 percent, while rescreening increased from 64 percent to 81 percent. Timely follow-up was more likely for HIV-positive men (adjusted relative risk=1.93; 95 percent confidence interval 1.31-2.85) and for patients diagnosed in 2007-08 (ARR=1.28; 95 percent CI: 1.04-1.57).

Among those patients who did receive timely follow-up, 94 (70 percent) were rescreened for syphilis. Diagnosis in 2007-08 was associated with a greater likelihood of rescreening at follow-up (ARR=1.24; 95 percent CI: 1.00-1.53).

"Timely follow-up and rescreening improved during the study period, subsequent to implementation of electronic medical records and enhanced DIS follow-up," the authors concluded. "Even in this later period, the combination of lack of timely follow-up and rescreening resulted in 39 percent of patients without CDC-recommended follow-up. Further efforts are needed to improve timely follow-up by patients and rescreening by clinicians."

Back to other news for July 2011

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
03.2011; Vol. 38; No. 3: P. 205-209; Anna L. Hotton; Beau Gratzer; Daniel Pohl; Supriya D. Mehta

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Syphilis -- a Dreadful Disease on the Move
Syphilis Fact Sheet
Basic Questions and Answers About Syphilis and Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)
More News and Research on Syphilis in Midwestern U.S. States

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