Background Sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses made in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics have been collected in England for many years, but little is known about the contribution of GPs to STI diagnoses.
Objectives To assess trends in diagnosis rates of selected STIs from GPs.
Methods Longitudinal analysis of age- and sex-standardised population diagnosis rates of selected STIs from GPs in England from 2005–2014 was performed using data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).
Results The proportion STI diagnoses made by GPs varied by infection, ranging from 2% (gonorrhoea) to 34% (genital herpes), in 2014. From 2005–2014, diagnosis rates [95% CI] per 100,000 registered population decreased for chlamydia (51.4 [50.7–52.0] to 24.9 [24.5–25.3], p = 0.009), gonorrhoea (3.4 [3.2–3.5] to 1.8 [1.7–1.9], p = 0.02), genital warts (73.1 [72.4–73.9] to 38.4, [37.9–39.0], p = 0.004) and genital herpes (36.9 [36.4–37.4] to 26.1 [25.7–26.6], p = 0.02). Diagnosis rates for all four STIs were higher among women, particularly for chlamydia and genital herpes where respective 2014 rates were 38.3 [37.6–39.1] and 41.8 [41.0–42.5] compared to 11.1 [10.7–11.5] and 10.0 [9.7–10.4] in men.
Conclusion While the rates of STI diagnoses in GUM clinics in England have steadily risen in the past 10 years, particularly in men, diagnosis rates of these four STIs in GPs have decreased between 2005 and 2014. The high diagnosis rates seen in women in GPs, suggest that primary care has an important role in the diagnosis of STIs in women although their relative contribution may have declined in recent years.
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