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Sex Transm Dis. 2012 Jul;39(7):531-6. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31824cbecc.

Urethritis/cervicitis pathogen prevalence and associated risk factors among asymptomatic HIV-infected patients in South Africa.

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Centre for HIV and STIs, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa.



To determine sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence, and patient characteristics associated with detection of urethritis/cervicitis pathogens, among HIV-infected individuals offered voluntary STI screening at a South African HIV treatment center.


Individuals, asymptomatic for genital discharge, were screened for Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis (TV), Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) infections (real-time polymerase chain reaction assay), for syphilis and herpes simplex type 2 (serologically), and for bacterial vaginosis and Candida (microscopy, women only). Patients' most recent CD4 and viral load results were recorded. Demographic, clinical, and behavioral data were collected by nurse-administered questionnaire.


Compared with men (n = 551), women (n = 558) were younger (mean age, 35.0 vs. 37.9 years; P < 0.001), reported more STIs in the past year (65.5% vs. 56.5%; P = 0.002), had more urethritis/cervicitis pathogens detected (21.3% vs.16.4%, P = 0.035), and were less aware of their partner's HIV status (53.1% vs. 62.3%; P = 0.007). The overall prevalence of individual urethritis/cervicitis pathogens was TV (7.6%), MG (6.1%), NG (5.4%), and C. trachomatis (2.1%). Multivariate analysis highlighted 4 significant factors associated with the detection of specific urethritis/cervicitis pathogens, namely female gender (TV, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.47-4.37), having a regular sexual partner in the past 3 months (NG, aOR 2.26, 95% CI: 1.01-5.08), suboptimal condom use with regular partners (TV, aOR 2.07, 95% CI: 1.25-3.42), and a history of genital warts in the past year (NG, 2.25, 95% CI: 1.26-4.03).


Asymptomatic urethritis/cervicitis pathogens were highly prevalent in this population. Few urethritis/cervicitis pathogen-associated patient characteristics were identified, emphasizing the need for affordable STI diagnostics to screen HIV-infected patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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