Setting up a surveillance system for sexually transmitted diseases in the general population with prospective data collection from private-practice and public-practice doctors in Hong Kong

Lau, Joseph T. F.; Chunqing Lin; King Man Ho; Man Chun Lau; Hi Yi Tsui; Jing Gu; Kuen Kong Lo
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p254
Academic Journal
Background: Existing surveillance systems for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and reproductive tract infections (RTI) are important but often ineffective, as they tend to omit cases diagnosed by private-practice doctors Methods: During a 15-day study period, 277 private-practice doctors and all public-practice doctors of all the eight local Social Hygiene Clinics (SHC) in Hong Kong filled out daily a standard log-form, recording the number of patients diagnosed with particular types of STD/RTI. Projections for all local private-practice and public-practice doctors were made by the stratification method. Results: Data showed that 0.75% of private patients and 40.92% of public patients presented the listed STD/RTI syndromes. It is projected that 12,504 adults were diagnosed with such syndromes by all local private-practice (10,204) or public-practice doctors (2,300); 0.22% (male: 0.26%; female: 0.18%) of the local adult population would fall into this category. The ratio of STD/RTI cases, diagnosed by private-practice versus public-practice doctors, was 4:1. Of the participating private-practice doctors, 96% found the process easy to administer and 75% believed that it was feasible for such a STD/RTI surveillance system to be implemented annually. Conclusions: Surveillance of STD/RTI based only on data obtained from the public health system is inadequate. Data obtained from public-practice and private-practice doctors are very different and the majority of the patients presented their STD/RTI syndromes to private-practice doctors. The proposed, improved surveillance system is feasible and has the strengths of involving both private-practice and public-practice medical practitioners and being well accepted by private-practice doctors.


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