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This article is the author’s final published version in Population Health Management, Volume 23, Issue S1, October 2020, Pages S13-S21.

The published version is available at Copyright © Nyirjesy et al.


Vaginitis is one of the main causes of primary care and gynecological visits in the United States. The most common infectious causes are bacterial vaginosis (BV), vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC), and trichomoniasis. A physician survey was conducted to measure awareness of vaginitis clinical guidelines and availability of in-office point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tools. Participants were asked to perform a chart review to evaluate diagnostic practices for their symptomatic vaginitis patients. A total of 333 physicians and 984 patient charts were included. Physicians were most familiar with VVC and BV diagnostic guidelines; fewer than half were aware of current trichomoniasis guidelines. Although access to POC tools used to evaluate and diagnose vaginitis varied by practice, there was limited access to all 3 tools (microscope, pH test strips, potassium hydroxide solution) required to perform a full Amsel workup for BV (47% obstetricians/gynecologists vs. 32% primary care physicians, P < .05). Based on guidelines, 66% of patients evaluated for VVC, 45% of patients evaluated for BV, and 17% evaluated for trichomoniasis received an optimal workup. Among trichomoniasis positive patients, 75% received chlamydia/gonorrhea testing, 42% were tested for HIV, partner therapy was noted in 59% of cases, and 47% returned to be retested within 3 months. Limited awareness of recommended diagnostic practices and lack of access to POC tools contributed to broad guideline nonadherence. This study demonstrates that clinicians commonly fall short of current guidelines and suggests the need for lab-based assessments and appropriate insurance coverage to fill the present diagnostic void.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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