Sexually Transmitted Infections Prevention, Screening, and Education: The Texas Medical Association urges increased efforts at local, state, and federal levels to bring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), in particular the newer challenges, such as human papilloma virus and chlamydia, under control through professional and public education, and supports the efforts of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health in their STI-control activities.
STIs have a significant impact on health in Texas, often leading to costly and sometimes irreversible health outcomes such as infertility, cancer, and poor perinatal health outcomes. Prevention including education and counseling, and screening is the cornerstone of clinical and public health efforts to manage the incidence of STIs. Education about HIV and STIs in Texas schools is an effective tool for the prevention of these diseases. Physicians should support dissemination of medically accurate information to teachers, students, and other members of the public. Physicians who are willing to treat STIs in minors without parental consent, as is allowed by law, are encouraged to submit their names to their county medical societies, health departments, and other agencies involved in providing STI treatment services so that those organizations can provide appropriate referrals when inquiries arise. Public education and individual physician counseling of patients on the avoidance of HIV and STIs is essential for all but especially for those at highest risk including adolescents and teenagers, sexually active persons and pregnant women. Vaccination for some vaccine-preventable diseases associated with some STIs may be appropriate for at risk populations. Partner management including expedited partner therapy can be an effective public health strategy.
As a large proportion of STIs are undiagnosed, screening and testing for STIs including HIV is essential in health care settings. STIs can be transmitted perinatally and can have serious health effects on a fetus and newborn. Each physician who cares for a pregnant woman must be informed on state mandated testing as well as recommendations on STI screening such as serology testing during the third trimester, and ensure testing is completed for each pregnant woman.
The management of STIs remains a significant challenge for physicians and public health officials in Texas. Physicians must continue to collaborate with public health to ensure medically accurate information and evidence-based prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies are available throughout the state, and also targeted for high risk populations (CPH, p 98, A-93; amended CM-ID Rep. 1-A-03; CM-ID Rep. 1-A-13).
Last Updated On
October 07, 2016