Emergency department screening for asymptomatic sexually transmitted infections

Am J Public Health. 2001 Mar;91(3):461-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.3.461.


Objectives: This study assessed the prevalence and correlates of asymptomatic genital tract infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis among emergency department patients.

Methods: Individuals seeking emergency department evaluation for nongenitourinary complaints provided urine samples for N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis testing by ligase chain reaction and completed a sociodemographic and behavioral questionnaire.

Results: Asymptomatic N gonorrhoeae or C trachomatis was found in 9.7% of persons tested. Correlates of C trachomatis infection included younger age, residence in high-morbidity zip code areas, previous history of N gonorrhoeae or C trachomatis, and number of sex partners in the past year.

Conclusions: Urine-based screening of asymptomatic emergency department patients detected significant numbers of N gonorrhoeae and C trachomatis infections. Targeted screening programs may contribute to community-level prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • DNA, Bacterial / urine
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Gonorrhea / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Ligase Chain Reaction
  • Male
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • DNA, Bacterial