Welcome to ReachMD. This medical industry feature, titled “Protecting Your Patients’ Sexual Health: The Importance of Testing for MGen & Other STIs”, is sponsored by Quest Diagnostics, a leader in Women’s Health. This program is intended for physicians caring for women. Presenting is Dr. Maria Trent, Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult MedicineProfessor Pediatrics, Public Health, and Nursing at John Hopkins University Schools oMedicine.
Hi, I’m Dr. Maria Trent, and I’m the Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and a Professor of Pediatrics, Public Health, and Nursing at the Johns Hopkins University. Today I’m going to talk about sexually transmitted infections, or STIs for short.
STIs are a common and growing problem in the United States with an estimated 20 million new STIs each year. Young people ages 15 to 24 are at highest risk due to a combination of biologic vulnerability, sexual behaviors and inconsistent condom use. As clinicians, it’s our responsibility to understand the complexities of these conditions so that we can best care for our patients. Asymptomatic screening and symptomatic testing are 2 strategies to effectively manage the public health burden associated with sexually transmitted infections. This is critically important for ensuring people do not experience the complications of disease, such as epididymitis and urethritis in men and cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease in women, conditions, both of which can lead to infertility if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.
There are many common STIs, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, trichomonas vaginalis, and now mycoplasma genitalium. Public health considerations around mycoplasma genitalium were driven by non-gonococcal, non-chlamydial, persistent and sometimes severe urethritis in men.
Our local data from Baltimore demonstrates that infections with mycoplasma and trichomonas vaginalis were actually more common than chlamydia or gonorrhea infections in one of our samples. Interestingly, mycoplasma genitalium often does not exist in isolation. Mycoplasma and trichomonas are commonly associated with coinfection with other sexually transmitted infections. Taking a sexual history and screening for all appropriate STIs is critically important because it allows for optimal treatment of patients. Mycoplasma is often not adequately treated by older antibiotics, like doxycycline, and may demonstrate resistance to macrolides, such as azithromycin.
Newly developed diagnostics allow for detection of mycoplasma alongside common STIs. Screening, testing and precise treatment are how we can protect reproductive health for men and women. It is important that you work with your local laboratories to determine where your patient can obtain complete testing for STIs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, mycoplasma and trichomonas vaginalis.
And that brings us to the main takeaway. It’s critically important that we discuss sexual health with our patients, test for sexually transmitted infections and use novel STI diagnostics that are now available to precisely treat them. By doing so we can help put a stop to the spread of sexually transmitted infections, provide the best care for our patients and prevent the consequences of undiagnosed and untreated infection.
This program was brought to you by Quest Diagnostics, a leader in Women’s Health. If you missed any part of this discussion or to find others in this series, visit reach-m-d-dot-com. This is ReachMD. Be Part of the Knowledge.