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Clin Infect Dis. 1995 Dec;21(6):1450-5.

Management of vaginal discharge in women treated at a Jamaican sexually transmitted disease clinic: use of diagnostic algorithms versus laboratory testing.

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Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599, USA.


The management of cervical infections is difficult in developing countries because laboratory facilities for diagnosing these infections are seldom available; therefore, syndrome-based management has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, such alternative approaches need to be evaluated in real field settings. We used algorithms (flowcharts) for syndromic management of abnormal vaginal discharge to treat 752 women who presented at a Jamaican sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic. Laboratory testing revealed cervical infection (gonococcal and/or chlamydial) in 34% of these women; trichomoniasis was documented for 25%; and at least one STD was documented for 54% of the women. Use of a clinical algorithm for diagnosing cervical infection was 73% sensitive (95% CI, 67-78) and 55% specific (95% CI, 49-62) when compared with laboratory testing. The risk-assessment-inclusive flowchart developed by WHO was 84% sensitive (95% CI, 80-89) and 40% specific (95% CI, 34-46) for diagnosing cervical infection. Positive predictive values for diagnosing cervical infection with use of the algorithms ranged from 42% to 43%, and negative predictive values ranged from 78% to 81%. The sensitivity of the algorithms for diagnosing trichomoniasis ranged from 85% to 88%. To treat as many infected women as possible, the most sensitive algorithm was selected for routine use in Jamaican STD clinics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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