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: Tax forms could pose challenge for HealthCare.gov

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can YouTube save your life?

21 hours ago

Only a handful of CPR and basic life support (BLS) videos available on YouTube provide instructions which are consistent with recent health guidelines, according to a new study published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, the jo ...

Doctors frequently experience ethical dilemmas

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For physicians trying to balance various financial and time pressures, ethical dilemmas are common, according to an article published Aug. 7 in Medical Economics.

AMGA: Physician turnover still high in 2013

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For the second year running, physician turnover remains at the highest rate since 2005, according to a report published by the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

Obese or overweight teens more likely to become smokers

22 hours ago

A study examining whether overweight or obese teens are at higher risk for substance abuse finds both good and bad news: weight status has no correlation with alcohol or marijuana use but is linked to regular ...

User comments : 0