Gonorrhea (GC) and chlamydia (CT) are the most commonly reported notifiable diseases in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men who have sex with men (MSM) be screened for urogenital GC/CT, rectal GC/CT, and pharyngeal GC. We describe extragenital GC/CT testing and infections among MSM attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics.
The STD Surveillance Network collects patient data from 42 STD clinics. We assessed the proportion of MSM attending these clinics during July 2011-June 2012 who were tested and positive for extragenital GC/CT at their most recent visit or in the preceding 12 months and the number of extragenital infections that would have remained undetected with urethral screening alone.
Of 21 994 MSM, 83.9% were tested for urogenital GC, 65.9% for pharyngeal GC, 50.4% for rectal GC, 81.4% for urogenital CT, 31.7% for pharyngeal CT, and 45.9% for rectal CT. Of MSM tested, 11.1% tested positive for urogenital GC, 7.9% for pharyngeal GC, 10.2% for rectal GC, 8.4% for urogenital CT, 2.9% for pharyngeal CT, and 14.1% for rectal CT. More than 70% of extragenital GC infections and 85% of extragenital CT infections were associated with negative urethral tests at the same visit and would not have been detected with urethral screening alone.
Extragenital GC/CT was common among MSM attending STD clinics, but many MSM were not tested. Most extragenital infections would not have been identified, and likely would have remained untreated, with urethral screening alone. Efforts are needed to facilitate implementation of extragenital GC/CT screening recommendations for MSM.