Do STD clinics correctly diagnose STDs? An assessment of STD management in Hefei, China

Int J STD AIDS. 2003 Oct;14(10):665-71. doi: 10.1258/095646203322387910.


The main purposes of the study were to assess the accuracy of laboratory testing and the diagnosis by physicians in sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Hefei, China. Among 347 men complaining of urethral discharge or dysuria, 240 tested positive at the National Centre for either Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis, 310 tested positive according to the clinic laboratories, and 347 were diagnosed by the physicians. For chlamydia, the sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) of the clinic laboratories were 55% and 26%, and for the diagnosis by the physicians were 61% and 24%. Laboratory testing and the diagnosis by the physicians had low power to detect mixed infection. The PPVs for the diagnosis by the physicians were 50% for syphilis and 43% for herpes simplex virus (HSV), indicating that both syphilis and HSV were over-diagnosed. Over half of those previously infected had not received education to prevent reinfection. Thus, the quality of clinic laboratory testing was not high and physicians often misdiagnosed STDs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / standards*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / microbiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / virology