Pediatric Emergency Provider Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening Practices in Adolescents With Oropharyngeal or Anorectal Chief Complaints

OBJECTIVES: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may present with oropharyngeal or anorectal symptoms. Little is known about the evaluation of adolescents with these complaints in the pediatric emergency department (PED). This study aimed to determine the frequency of and factors associated with STI consideration and testing in this population.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review of patients aged 13 to 18 years who presented to an urban PED with oropharyngeal or anorectal chief complaints between June 2014 and May 2015. Sexually transmitted infection consideration was defined as sexual history documentation, documentation of STI in differential diagnosis, and/or diagnostic testing. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with consideration.

RESULTS: Of 767 visits for oropharyngeal (89.4%), anorectal (10.4%), or both complaints, 153 (19.9%) had STI consideration. Of the 35 visits (4.6%) that included gonorrhea and/or chlamydia testing, 12 (34.3%) included testing at the anatomic site of complaint. Of those 12 tests, 50.0% were the incorrect test. Patients with older age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3–1.7), female sex (aOR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.03–2.5), or anorectal complaints (aOR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.3–4.3) were more likely to have STI consideration.

CONCLUSIONS: In an urban PED, only 20% of visits for adolescents with oropharyngeal or anorectal symptoms included STI consideration. Testing was performed in only 5% of cases and often at an inappropriate anatomic site or with the incorrect test. Interventions to increase awareness of appropriate STI consideration and testing for individuals presenting with possible extragenital complaints may help reduce STIs among adolescents.


Gallagher C, Lee SS, Shofer FS; Mollen C, Goyal MK, Dowshen NL