Routine STD screening may be beneficial in reducing
STD-related morbidity in young adults because there are some discrepancies
between self-reported sexual behaviors and STD status, according to an online
Ralph J. DiClemente, PhD, and colleagues from
Emory University reported on findings derived from participants in the third
wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a survey of more
than 14,000 young adults who had responded to the survey and were also tested
for STDs. The researchers said 10% of young adults with a laboratory-confirmed
STD result reported that they abstained from sexual intercourse in the 12
months before assessment and STD testing. Of all the participants in the third
wave who provided a urine sample for screening, 964 (6%) tested positive for
one of three STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis. The
researchers said about 6% of the STD-positive participants reported no lifetime
history of penile or vaginal sex.
“From a clinical standpoint, the discrepancies
between STD positivity and self-reported sexual behavior identified in this
nationally representative sample suggest that routine STD screening may be
beneficial and necessary to reduce STD morbidity,” the researchers wrote.
“In addition, given that no sociodemographic characteristics
differentiated young adults with discrepant results from those without, routine
screening for common STDs may be useful for all young adults, regardless of
self-reported sexual history, rage, gender or age.”
The researchers noted some study limitations; notably,
the absence of a baseline measure of STD status and the use of urine specimens
to identify STD status. However, they said the study conclusions point to the
importance of screening for STDs.
“If pediatricians and adolescent medicine
physicians do not test all young people, there are likely a substantial number
of missed cases of STDs that will go undiagnosed, untreated, and spread to
future sex partners,” the researchers said.
Disclosures: The researchers reported no relevant financial