An Educational Intervention to Improve Provider Screening for Syphilis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men Utilizing an Urban Urgent Care Center

  • Dina Romo
  • Gowri Nagendra
  • Sarah Schechter
  • April Pavlish
  • Alwyn Cohall
  • Natalie NeuEmail author
Original Paper


Rates of syphilis are increasing in the United States especially among men who have sex with men (MSM). The purpose of this project was to implement an educational intervention based on the 2015 CDC Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Treatment Guidelines for urgent care providers with an emphasis on identifying MSM sexual behavior and appropriate screening for syphilis. An urgent care center was identified as a location where men seek care and where STD testing was occurring. After a baseline provider focus group to identify barriers to STD testing, a patient survey was created and given to clients to increase identification of MSM behaviors and to prompt providers to order syphilis testing. In addition, an educational intervention was implemented to improve provider and staff screening for syphilis. The intervention occurred between September 2015–December 2015. A total of 1341 males were seen with 1067 surveys collected. The mean age was 35.6 and 57.4% were Hispanic. Overall, 72 (5.4%) males identified as MSM. Approximately 50% of all MSM identified had RPRs (n = 37) sent and of these 13.5% (n = 5) tested positive for syphilis. The focus group among urgent care providers and staff identified barriers to syphilis testing. Targeted screening of males using a self-administered questionnaire is acceptable to urgent care populations and may assist in identifying MSM which in turn may help to facilitate syphilis screening and other relevant STI testing pertinent to this population.


Syphilis Screening test Urgent care setting MSM (men-who-have-sex-with-men) 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

10900_2019_647_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1422 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dina Romo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gowri Nagendra
    • 3
  • Sarah Schechter
    • 4
  • April Pavlish
    • 3
  • Alwyn Cohall
    • 5
  • Natalie Neu
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Albert Einstein Medical CollegeBronxUSA
  3. 3.Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsNewYork-Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics and Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsColumbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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