Racial disparities evident in taking sexual histories in emergency departments

May 05, 2010

Emergency department physicians are more likely to document sexual histories of black adolescent girls with symptoms potentially related to sexually transmitted infections (STI) than white teen girls with the same symptoms, according to a new study.

The result is that emergency physicians may be providing less comprehensive services for white teen girls than black, according to Carolyn Holland, M.D., M.Ed., a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the study's lead author.

The study will be presented today at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, Canada.

"We typically see that result in poor-quality health care for non-whites," says Dr. Holland. "In this situation, we're doing white patients a disservice by not asking whether they've had sex. The simple fact is that any girl of any race who comes to a hospital for emergency care - or to her primary care physician for that matter - should be asked whether they're having sex. We're not doing a good job of that."

U.S. Centers for Disease Control data show that black teen girls have a higher incidence of STIs and sexual activity than white girls, but it's not standard of care to document sexual histories more or less frequently for one group than another, according to Dr. Holland.

In her study, Dr. Holland examined 352 emergency visits. Ninety-one percent of black teens had their sexual history documented. Only 62 percent of white teens had their sexual history taken.

Dr. Holland also is an at the University of Cincinnati.

Explore further: CDC charges Johns Hopkins to lead development of Ebola training module

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

Oct 24, 2014

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

Oct 24, 2014

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

Oct 24, 2014

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments : 0