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Int J STD AIDS. 1995 May-Jun;6(3):211-5.

Pharyngeal flora in a sexually active population.

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Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK.


During a 7-week period 1141 patients attending the Genitourinary Clinic at Charing Cross Hospital completed a brief questionnaire and had pharyngeal swabs cultured for Neisseria spp, beta-haemolytic streptococci, corynebacterium and yeasts. The study included 397 heterosexual men, 492 heterosexual women, 189 homosexuals, 41 lesbians and 22 bisexual men and women. Four hundred and sixty patients (40%) admitted oro-genital contact in the preceding 2 weeks. The meningococcal carriage rate was 11.6%. Homosexuals had the highest carriage 23.8% and heterosexual females the lowest 5.9%. Significant differences in carriage rates were found between homosexual and heterosexual men (P < 0.0001), heterosexual men and women (P < 0.005) and between lesbian and heterosexual women (P < 0.025). Recent oro-anal contact significantly increased meningococcal isolation (P < 0.001). A significant association between beta-haemolytic streptococci and concomitant meningococcal carriage was also found (P < 0.01). Sexual orientation and oro-genital contact influences both meningococcal and pharyngeal yeast isolation and should be considered when interpreting pharyngeal culture results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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