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Physician Attitudes, Beliefs, and Chlamydia Screening Practices

May 4, 2001

A study in the March issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health examined the proportion of primary care physicians who screen sexually active teenage women for chlamydia to determine demographic factors, practice characteristics, and attitudes associated with chlamydia screening.

Data was collected in 1998 from a random sample of 1,600 physicians in Pennsylvania using a survey questionnaire about STD practices. Of the 1,600 mailed questionnaires, 541 were returned for a response rate of 51%.


Results

Chlamydia Screening Practices

Attitudes and Beliefs

Factors Associated with Chlamydia Screening

The findings suggest that a physician’s perceived prevalence of chlamydia infection is significantly associated with his/her screening behavior. Physicians were significantly less likely to screen if they believed the majority of their 18-year-old patients were not sexually active or if they believed the prevalence of chlamydia infection too low to make screening useful.

The authors conclude that there is an urgent need to implement and evaluate interventions to improve chlamydia-screening rates among adolescent women so that complications of chlamydia infection can be prevented. Furthermore, the authors recommend that improved physician education may help to correct misconceptions about sexual activity among U.S. teenage women, the prevalence of asymptomatic chlamydia infection, and the clinical and cost benefits of screening even when the prevalence is low.

For more information: R. L. Cook, et al., Barriers to Screening Sexually Active Adolescent Women for Chlamydia: A Survey of Primary Care Physicians, Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 28 no. 3, pp. 204-10.




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