Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Computer questionnaires may help identify teens in need of STD testing


Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine conducted a study to determine whether a computerized questionnaire can help improve the rates of sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing.

Authors of the study asked 460 emergency room patients aged 15 to 21 to fill out the survey, which included questions about sexual history and practices. They discovered that the questionnaire was not only effective at identifying teens and young adults who needed an STD test, but it was also easy to use and only took about eight minutes to complete.

"When we implemented the system, we found that almost half of the patients who completed the questionnaire were in need of STI testing, and that was the same whether or not their primary complaint was related to STIs," said lead author Fahd Ahmad, M.D.

The team discovered that about 15 percent of participants tested positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea, compared to a diagnoses rate of roughly 9 percent during the 15 months prior to the clinical trial. A total of 20 percent of the volunteers required treatment for an STD.

When asking the participants about the ease and comfort of completing the questionnaire, the researchers found that the electronic model may be even more preferable to in-person interviews. A total of 91 percent of the individuals said the program was easy to operate, and 71 percent said they would rather take an online survey than a written questionnaire or interview.

"Computerized questionnaires are an efficient way for healthcare workers to collect clinically relevant information and integrate it into their practice," Dr. Ahmad concluded.