sexually transmitted infections

CDC Releases STD Recommendations for Primary Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released new recommendations for the providing of quality clinical services for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The new recommendations compliment CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015, which dealt with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of STDs.

The new guidance differs from the 2015 guidelines “by specifying operational determinants of quality services in different types of clinical settings, describing on-site treatment and partner services, and indicating when STD-related conditions should be managed through consultation with or referral to a specialist,” the authors wrote.

The guidance provides separate recommendations for STD clinical services in primary care vs those in the STD specialty care settings.

Topics covered in the recommendations include:

  • Screening tests that should or could be available in the primary care vs specialty setting.
  • Medications for the treatment of specific STDs that should or could be available on site in either setting.
  • Medications that could or should be available for prescription at either setting.
  • Partner services.
  • Evaluation for STD-related conditions

“The recommendations in this report contribute to improved STD care by defining the STD or related clinical services that should be available in primary care and STD specialty care settings. Specialized STD care focuses on the delivery of timely, comprehensive, confidential, and culturally sensitive STD clinical services. Specialized STD care also preferably includes on-site immediate diagnosis and on-site injectable antimicrobials to treat syphilis and gonorrhea. STD care in primary care settings might offer some of the same services as specialized STD care settings but, at a minimum, should encompass sexual history and risk assessment, screening, and treatment services,” the authors concluded.

—Michael Potts


Barrow RY, Ahmed F, Bolan GA, Workowski KA. recommendations for providing quality sexually transmitted diseases clinical services, 2020. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2020;68(No. RR-5):1–20. DOI: