Why Aren’t US Emergency Departments an Optimal Source for STD Care?

From (the somewhat oddly named) Contagion Live:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States have reached an unprecedented high, and the number of cases continue to rise.

Now, a “Short Communication” published in Elsevier reports that this increased incidence, along with a “deteriorating public health infrastructure,” is the reason more of these diseases are being seen in emergency departments (EDs).

However, not only is it more expensive for STDs to be treated in the EDs, but care in these settings is less than optimal, as these diseases are often either over-treated or under-treated, which can result in these organisms developing resistance to antibiotics.

The authors of the paper report that “STI surveillance has shown consistently that STIs are diagnosed and treated outside traditional STD clinics, including [in] emergency departments, when gaps in the US public health infrastructure are created by the closure of such STD clinics.” Due to the notable rise in STDs, the researchers decided to evaluate any changes in the number of ED visits for STD treatment that occurred over time and compare those findings with ED visits consisting of all other diagnoses.

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