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Screening for sexually transmitted infections

Khalil G Ghanem, MD, PhD
Susan Tuddenham, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Noreen A Hynes, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major public health problem in both resource-rich and limited settings. STIs are frequently asymptomatic and can lead to various complications. The immediate goal of screening for STIs is to identify and treat infected persons before they develop complications and to identify, test, and treat their sex partners to prevent transmission and reinfections.

In this topic, we discuss screening for STIs among asymptomatic individuals. In its 2015 guidelines on the treatment of sexually transmitted infections, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also made recommendations on screening [1]. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has also released guidelines on screening for various STIs [2-4]. The Infectious Diseases Society of America's HIV Medical Association has published STI screening recommendations for HIV-infected persons [5]. The recommendations in this topic are largely consistent with these guidelines. Other subspecialty group guidelines and national guidelines may be more pertinent in certain settings [6-9].

The approaches to patients with specific genitourinary symptoms and signs are discussed elsewhere. (See "Approach to women with symptoms of vaginitis" and "Pelvic inflammatory disease: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis" and "Approach to the patient with genital ulcers" and "Acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women".)

Information on the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of specific STIs are reviewed in detail separately (see related topics). Sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection in adolescents are also discussed separately. (See "Sexually transmitted infections: Overview of issues specific to adolescents" and "The adolescent with HIV infection".)

The prevention of STIs is also discussed elsewhere. (See "Prevention of sexually transmitted infections".)


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Literature review current through: Dec 2016. | This topic last updated: Fri Jul 01 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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