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Few Doctors Discuss STDs, Study Says

November 26, 2001|Jane E. Allen and \f7

Sexually transmitted diseases are among the most common infections in this country, yet somehow, the word isn't getting through to women about how vulnerable they are to these generally silent infections, according to a new survey.

Just more than half of family practice doctors and obstetrician-gynecologists report discussing sexually transmitted diseases with their patients.

The communication gap is greater when it comes to counseling patients about AIDS; just 43% of OB-GYNs and 53% of family practice physicians said they discussed the subject.

The survey found that 49% of OB-GYNs and 50% of family practice doctors regularly provided tests for STDs or advised women to be tested. The most commonly recommended or actually performed test was chlamydia, followed, in order, by gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, trichomoniasis and genital herpes.

Several sexually transmitted infections can lead to serious complications. Undetected chlamydia, for example, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and scar fallopian tubes. Many strains of human papillomavirus have been linked to cervical cancer.

The new findings from the Kaiser Family Foundation were based on a survey of 767 doctors.

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