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J Infect Dis. 1997 Mar;175(3):583-9.

Comparison of clinical diagnosis and standard laboratory and molecular methods for the diagnosis of genital ulcer disease in Lesotho: association with human immunodeficiency virus infection.

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Division of AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis Laboratory Research, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


A multiplex polymerase chain reaction (M-PCR) assay for Haemophilus ducreyi, Treponema pallidum, and herpes simplex virus (HSV) was compared with clinical and standard laboratory methods for the diagnosis of genital ulcer disease (GUD) in 105 patients; 36% were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive. Chancroid (80%), syphilis (8%), and genital herpes (8%) were the most frequent diagnoses. H. ducreyi and HSV were isolated from ulcers of 43% and 18% of patients, respectively; in 35%, all cultures were negative and the laboratory diagnosis indeterminate. M-PCR detected H. ducreyi, T. pallidum, and HSV in 56%, 23%, and 26% of patients, respectively; (no definitive diagnosis, 6%). The proportion of patients with more than one agent was 4% by culture and 17% by M-PCR (P = .002). Resolved sensitivities of M-PCR for H. ducreyi and HSV cultures were 95% and 93%, respectively. The sensitivities of H. ducreyi and HSV cultures were 75% and 60%, respectively. HSV, detected in 47% of specimens from HIV-infected versus 16% from HIV-uninfected patients (P < .001), may be emerging as a more frequent cause of GUD.

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