How well do family physicians manage sexually transmitted diseases?

Can Fam Physician. 1995 Nov;41:1890-6.


Objective: To identify gaps in knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and evaluate practice.

Design: We compared how 49 family physicians managed 249 episodes of STDs with the recommendations of the 1988-1989 Canadian STD management guidelines. (The study took place before revised guidelines were distributed in late 1992.)

Setting: Family physicians' practices throughout Canada.

Participants: Physicians recruited by the National Research System from among the members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. These physicians had been in practice for a mean of 9 years; 43 were Certificants of the College.

Main outcome measures: Family physicians' self-reported episodes of sexually transmitted disease evaluated in light of current Canadian guidelines.

Results: Of the 249 episodes studied, 215 (86.3%) were treated effectively, and 34 (13.7%) were judged to have been treated ineffectively. Of the 215 effective treatments, 67 (31.2%) were not completely in agreement with current guidelines.

Conclusion: Experienced family physicians with postgraduate training usually manage STDs well. The number of ineffective treatments and effective treatments not following the 1988-1989 guidelines, especially for pelvic inflammatory disease, indicates that information on managing certain STDs and syndromes should be made available to all family physicians in a format that is easy to read and use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Family Practice* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Failure