By Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are the most common infectious diseases in the United States, with an estimated national prevalence of 110 million cases. More than 20 million people are infected annually. Last June, the Centers for Disease Control, std screening services, OC and Prevention (CDC) issued updated treatment guidelines.

The CDC's 2015 Treatment Guidelines boxIn their September CE article “Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States: Overview and Update,” authors Hayley Mark and Amit Dhir provide nurses with a closer look at the symptoms, screening methods, and means of treatment for the six most common STIs: human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. They also describe the most recent relevant findings and treatment recommendations. As they note,

STIs have enormous human consequences, including severe reproductive complications, neonatal injury, and death; and because STIs are associated with social stigma, they also have substantial psychological impact. The economic consequences are also enormous: it’s estimated that STIs cost the nation about $16 billion in annual health care costs. All communities are affected, although significant racial, ethnic, and other disparities persist. Nurses play a critical role in educating patients on STIs, screening for disease, and providing treatment. Nurses can also help minimize the impact of social stigma by providing informed, confidential, and sensitive care, and by promoting sexual health.

Recent developments. The article specifically addresses such matters as

  • the rise of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea.
  • the burden of human papillomavirus (HPV)–related cancers and the impact of the HPV vaccine.
  • the development of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) for many STIs.
  • the increasing rate of syphilis among men who have sex with men.
  • the relationship between STIs and HIV acquisition and transmission.

The article closes with the latest recommendations for prevention, which include (when applicable) circumcision, preexposure vaccination, and expedited partner therapy.

To learn more, please read the article, which is free online.

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