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STD Services in Urban Urgent Care Centers

Williams, Samantha P. PhD*; Kinsey, Jennine MA*; Carry, Monique G. PhD*; Terry, Latasha MPA; Wells, Joy MPH; Kroeger, Karen PhD*

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001042
Original Studies

Background Recent evidence indicates increased use of urgent care centers (UCCs) for sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing. We sought to learn more about STD services in UCCs in a large metropolitan area.

Method Using a modified rapid gap assessment approach, we interviewed staff from 19 UCCs in metro Atlanta, GA. The UCCs were identified using two online search engines. We focused on a 50-mile radius around Atlanta. We then excluded duplicates and closed UCCs, and the ones outside Atlanta's five contiguous counties. Using a prioritization process, we visited UCCs in or adjacent to areas with mid to high local STD morbidity, or facilities from which STD cases were reported the year prior. We collected checklist-based data on STD testing, treatment, and preventive services, as well as supportive services (eg, substance use/mental health referrals). Checklist data, notes, and open-ended questions were summarized and analyzed descriptively.

Results All UCCs (n = 19) reported offering basic to comprehensive STD testing. Although most could treat on-site for chlamydia and gonorrhea, most relied on referrals, or prescriptions and “return to facility” practices to treat syphilis. Sources for STD information/management included the health department/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, online medical sites, and electronic medical record embedded information. Challenges UCCs acknowledged included staying up-to-date with treatment guidance and laboratory reporting requirements, inadequate time for sexual risk reduction counseling, and linking patients with extended care needs (eg, HIV+ case management, supportive services), or following up with patients.

Conclusions Urgent cares are STD testing resources. Service availability varies, but opportunities exist to enhance STD services in UCC settings and in communities.

Preventive sexually transmitted disease services in urgent care centers were explored using a mix-method assessment approach. Strategies for optimal sexually transmitted disease care in urgent care centers are needed.

From the *Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Office of STD, Georgia Department of Public Health, Atlanta, GA

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to acknowledge Wendasha Hall, PhD, who participated in project discussions; Darlene Davis, who assisted in developing the services checklist; and Penny Loosier, PhD, who reviewed the manuscript.

Conflict of Interest and Sources of Funding: None declared.

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Correspondence: Samantha P. Williams, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCHHSTP/DSTDP/SBREB, 1600 Clifton Rd. N.E., Mailstop US12-2, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail:

Received for publication February 8, 2019, and accepted June 23, 2019.

Online date: July 2, 2019

© Copyright 2019 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association